by Jessica Lamb
A HAMILTON Island labourer who attacked a man in an Airlie Beach nightclub claimed he was defending a woman who had been sexually harassed.
When Lucas Andrew Charleston was evicted from Boom Nightclub in the town's safe night precinct on December 2, he then stirred up a fight on public streets.
Charleston's violent behaviour landed him in the cells at Airlie Beach Watch-house, and subsequently in Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday.
The 19-year-old pleaded guilty to public nuisance, represented by duty lawyer Elizabeth Smith.
Prosecutor Anna Ellis told Magistrate Simon Young that security guards had contacted police about a fight outside Magnums hotel at 4.50am on the night.
A crowd had gathered around Charleston and his victim.
"Guards observed the defendant walk up to the other male and punch him in the face,” Ms Ellis said.
When police intervened, Charleston had been yelling threats at his victim before he was taken to the ground by officers, shouting "that guy is a pedophile, he's feeling up kids in a club”.
"Police asked the defendant how you could feel up kids in a club after you have to be 18 to gain entry,” Ms Ellis said.
"He then yelled 'it was a young girl then'.”
Ms Smith, on behalf of Charleston, said a girl who her client had not met before approached him several times in Boom Nightclub, reporting she had been assaulted.
That matter was dealt with by police, Ms Smith told the court.
She added Charleston had yelled at the victim, who he believed was responsible for harassing the woman, and her client was then ejected from Boom Nightclub.
"The defendant walked to McDonald's when he came across this male person again and he yelled at him and was punched in the nose, and he retaliated and punched him once back,” Ms Smith said.
"He recalls waking up in the cells, spent the night in the watch house and describes it as not being a particularly pleasant experience. In the circumstances, this was not entirely unprovoked.
"It is the case police have issued an infringement notice to the other person, it is not the case the defendant is entirely the only person who was in the wrong.”
During his sentencing remarks, Mr Young slammed Charleston's behaviour.
"The offence itself is a serious one, this is exactly the type of behaviour safe night precincts were set up to try and prevent, and I'm particularly concerned about the violence and the threats,” he said.
"The fact you couldn't leave well enough alone is concerning. The fact you were assaulted is relevant so far as what penalty should be imposed here today.”
Mr Young fined Charleston $1200 and banned him from attending Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct for six months
No convictions were recorded.