Man contradicts not guilty plea during defence

A MAN appearing in court over four charges of indecently assaulting children at Lennox Head pleaded not guilty but contradicted himself with bizarre courtroom outbursts.

The 51-year-old Mittagong man fronted Magistrate David Heilpern in custody at Lismore Local Court yesterday for mention, after allegedly indecently assaulting two children aged 10 and nine on June 5.

When sections of the man's alleged admission to police were read in court as part of a bail application, he launched into a strange defence of his actions - claiming he was misquoted.

He said he did not aggressively hit the children but instead described his actions as a "minimally offensive sexual gesture".

"It wasn't that type of hit - it was sexual, not physical," the man said.

"I never said that I hit them ... I never touched them in the kitchen.

"Something happened I don't mind admitting to."

Continuing his rant, he admitted he was sexually attracted to young girls despite his clear not guilty plea to all four charges.

His solicitor, Thomas Trembath, was visibly frustrated with his client's outbursts and advised him to be quiet during proceedings.

Before the incident, Mr Trembath argued the man should receive bail - suggesting his client would gladly lodge $2000 and temporarily reside at Halfway House, South Lismore.

He also said the man was charged on the basis of his admission to police and not from statements made by complainants.

But bail was refused by the magistrate due to the opportunistic nature of the assaults and ongoing risk to the community due to an unacceptable risk of reoffending.

"The Lismore community would be aghast that someone who has a sexual attraction to children ... is out and about," Mr Heilpern said.

The man had undergone a psychological examination and was not found to suffer any mental illness.

The case was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions and adjourned until June 17 at Lismore Local Court.



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