Zach Hogg

Backpacker involved in sexual assault avoids jail

A 19-YEAR-OLD backpacker who touched the breasts of a fellow backpacker while she slept has avoided jail after being handed a suspended sentence in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court.

Christopher Luke Brownie pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault yesterday following the incident at the Cellblock Backpackers.

Bundaberg police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told the court the complainant, a 24-year-old French woman, was in bed with her boyfriend when at about 2.30am on August 22 she woke to find hands touching her torso and breasts.

Realising they were not her boyfriend's she screamed. Brownie stopped and ran to his bed in the same room, hid under the sheets and pretended to be asleep.

Sgt Stevens told the court Bundaberg had a history of incidents resulting in backpackers becoming victims.

He called for a sentence that showed "young people are welcome, and this town will help and support them."

In Brownie's defence, lawyer Mary Buchanan said her client had been drinking and had no recollection of the incident.

Magistrate Aaron Simpson sentenced Brownie to 12 months jail suspended for two years.