Man punched missionary

AFTER groping a woman's buttocks as she drank a cuppa at the Byron Bay Salvation Army drop-in centre while asking her to dance with him, Michael Edward Collins made another wrong move by punching a visiting Dutch missionary in the mouth - dislodging his front teeth and sending one tooth flying.

Collins, 34, who has no fixed place of abode, but hangs out in Byron Bay, pleaded guilty in Lismore Local Court to assaulting both the woman and missionary Laurens Colijn at the centre on June 16. Mr Colijn received emergency dental work and five stitches to his bottom lip.

Police officers called to the assault later found Collins with a wine bladder under his arm 'well affected by liquor'.

Magistrate Michael Dakin jailed Collins for eight months, with a non-parole of four months and three days, backdating it to his arrest, making him eligible for immediate release.

Mr Dakin said a medical report before the court revealed Collins suffered from schizophrenia.

After being given a hot drink by volunteers who help out at the drop-in centre that helps people less fortunate in the Byron community, Collins grabbed the left buttock of the woman as she walked past and squeezed it tightly while asking “Do you want to dance with me?” and pulling her into his body in what police described as inappropriate touching.

Mr Colijn, a missionary from the Netherlands volunteering at the centre, went over and told Collins to leave because of his unacceptable behaviour.

As the missionary took the hot drink from him Collins punched him with a clenched fist, knocking a top tooth out of his mouth and loosening two other front teeth.

Mr Colijn, in Australia on a missionary visa and working at the Surfside Christian Centre, told police 'Michael' was a frequent visitor who was usually quiet, but who was 'loud' that morning. He went over after seeing him grab the woman's left buttock 'quite hard'.

Following the blow to his mouth the missionary told police: “I felt my mouth with my tongue. I felt my upper teeth were in a different place to where they used to be.”

The ejected tooth was found by staff and taken to the dentist where Mr Colijn was being treated. It was pushed back into place and his lower lip stitched

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