Belongil Beach, Byron Bay.
Belongil Beach, Byron Bay.

Groper fails to front court, arrest warrant issued

A MAN who sexually touched a woman on a Byron Bay beach has had a warrant issued for his arrest after he failed to face court for his sentencing.

Gary John Thompson, 38, had previously pleaded guilty to behaving in an offensive manner in a public place and sexually touching another person without consent.

According to court documents, the offences took place on Belongil Beach shortly after 1pm on February 18 this year.

Thompson was in an area near The Wreck when his victim observed him leaving the water in a naked state and approaching another woman in an inappropriate manner.

After the victim began phoning police, he approached her from behind and groped her chest while rubbing his genitals against her back.

The woman told police Thompson proceeded to masturbate nearby, although he denied this aspect of the offending when police later caught up with him, court documents said.

While being walked to the police station, Thompson told police he'd consumed wine and magic mushrooms before the incident.

Thompson originally pleaded not guilty to his two charges but later changed this and while a sentencing assessment report was requested by the court in April, it's understood that has not been prepared.

Thompson, whose address is listed on court documents as being in Byron Bay, has been in Western Australia during the proceedings.

Defence solicitor Kim Ivosevac told Byron Bay Local Court on Monday Thompson was still interstate and was "unable to travel to NSW" but was happy to attend his own sentencing via phone.

Magistrate Michael Dakin wouldn't entertain this idea, given the nature of the offences.

Ms Ivosevac asked whether the court could allow her client more time to gather the funds to travel back to Byron Bay.

But Mr Dakin said this was the matter's fourth listing.

On June 15, the sitting magistrate noted Thompson was required to attend the July 27 listing and if he did not, a warrant must be issued.

In light of this, Ms Ivosevac sought leave to withdraw from the case.

Mr Dakin granted this and issued a warrant for Thompson's arrest.

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