A 28-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to assaulting a teenage girl in a Moruya park after the offer of a puff on an e-cigarette turned ugly.
Alexis Alexandra Lekki, of Moruya, was convicted in Moruya Local Court on August 16 of one count of assaulting a 16-year-old, occasioning actual bodily harm.
Police told the court the offence took place between 10-10.15pm on April 9, when a group of young people walking to a Moruya home through the park came upon the accused.
According to police facts tendered to the court, Lekki was in the park as she was upset and had suicidal thoughts. She had consumed half a bottle of red wine and the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam. When the group of six entered the park, she offered them a draw on her e-cigarette. They had refused and walked away. The accused followed and the group told police they felt afraid, and had scattered and hidden.
If you stuff up, you only have yourself to blame.Magistrate Doug Dick
Police said the accused shouted for the group to show themselves. The group came out of hiding and challenged the accused and there was a verbal confrontation.
Members of the group told police Lekki had swung her arm backwards towards the victim and struck her on the forehead with her e-cigarette, causing a 3cm gash which required four stitches at Moruya Hospital.
The accused told police she acted in self defence as the group had ganged up on her. She said some were trying to get her to fight and she was in fear of being assaulted.
Lekki admitted to possessing the e-cigarette and to swinging her arm at the victim.
Magistrate Doug Dick said both parties should be able to walk the streets without harassment, particularly the 16-year-old.
The case was not crystal clear, but Lekki had to take responsibility for her actions.
"The facts are hazy," he said.
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"I do not know what went on other than that you should have known better."
Lekki was already under a Community Corrections Order for a previous non-violent minor offence, but the magistrate took the unusual step of imposing a second order, with both orders to run concurrently for two years from August 16.
He told Lekki to avoid the victim.
"If you see her, pretend you do not see her," he said.
He urged her to remain calm, "regardless of who pushes your buttons"
The victim was in a court with a large group of family members.
Magistrate Dick said she could be confident of her safety.
"I do not expect you to like Alexis, but she will leave you alone from now on," he said.
He warned Lekki this was her last chance.
"I am putting your future in your hands," he said.
"If you stuff up, you only have yourself to blame.
"You are being tested."
He did not impose a fine, but said if Lekki returned before the court, it would not be a good experience.