Coleraine man convicted of indecent assaults was 'drunk, stoned'

A COLERAINE man who inappropriately touched two young women after a night of heavy drinking and smoking cannabis has been convicted and placed on an 18-month community corrections order.

Adrian Stephen Mitchell, 37, of Kanes Road, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court yesterday to two counts of indecent assault committed between September 2008 and September the following year.

He will have to complete 200 hours of community work.

Crown prosecutor David O’Doherty said the young women had shared a night of drinking and smoking cannabis with Mitchell in their Casterton home,  which led to one woman vomiting and going to bed partially dressed. 

The other went to sleep on a couch. and Mitchell touched her leg under a blanket. He was told to go away but returned to touch the woman’s genital area through her clothes.

He then went to a bedroom to undress and got into bed with the other woman before fondling her.

Mitchell was arrested on November 23, 2010, and made no comment in an interview with police.

The prosecutor made a successful application for Mitchell to provide his DNA to a database saying that his offending was of a specific nature which could otherwise go undetected if a victim was asleep or partially asleep.

Defence counsel Michael Turner said his client had been under the influence of alcohol and drug and was addicted to cannabis at the time. He said there had been a lengthy delay in the matters coming before court and the offending was “opportunistic”.

He said Mitchell’s charges were well known in Coleraine and Casterton area and he had been widely criticised in the community, including on social media website Facebook.

Mr Turner said Mitchell had another charge of a similar nature which was listed to be heard in another court.

Judge Paul Grant said the victims and Mitchell were affected by alcohol and drugs and although that was an explanation for Mitchell’s actions it was not an excuse.

Judge Grant said the first victim told in a victim impact statement how she was embarrassed and ashamed, while the other woman felt angry, distressed and isolated and was finding it difficult to recover.

Special conditions of Mitchell’s CCO include undertaking assessment, treatment and testing for alcohol dependency and for the sex offender program.

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