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DANDENONG

Tuesday, 9 July, 2019

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Gumtree grope? By Cam Lucadou-Wells A 76-year-old Dandenong man is fighting charges that he molested a 19-year-old Gumtree customer in his home garage. The man, who wore dark glasses and was assisted by a Russian interpreter, pleaded not guilty to indecent assault in a contest-mention hearing at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 2 July. Star News has chosen not to name the accused at this stage. According to the prosecution, the victim had organised to buy a lawn mower and whipper-snipper from the accused via the onlinetrading post Gumtree on 7 November. The man invited her into the garage, sat down at a table and they chatted amicably over a smoke. Later she loaded the gear into her car, and the man - saying he was a former panel beater - bumped out a dent in her car door. He then asked: “Do you want a cigarette before you go?” The victim sat down in the same chair in the garage. From behind, the man allegedly kissed her neck and cheek, and groped her repeatedly. According to the police summary, he ignored her objections, telling her over and over: “You’re so beautiful”. “We’re going to be good friends.” As she left, he allegedly insisted on giving her a box of cigarettes, telling her it was because they were “really good friends”. The victim stopped her car down the end of the street, and rang her sister, police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Glenn Horman told the court. “I’m shaking, I can’t drive. I can’t believe what just happened,” she allegedly told her sister. Her sister met her at the car and drove her to Dandenong police station to report the incident. On 11 November, the victim rang the accused from Victoria Police’s MDC in Dandenong. The call was recorded by police.

He allegedly admitted that he could remember touching the victim’s breasts. “Yes, yes, yes,” he replied, according to the police summary. He denied her assertion that she had asked him to stop, the court heard. “Pardon?” he said. “No, no.” “And I told you I had a boyfriend?” “Yeah.” “I just wanted you to know it really made me uncomfortable and made me scared.” “Yeah.” “I really didn’t like it. The next time someone says stop, they don’t like it, you should stop.” “Yeah.” According to police, she asked him to apologise. “Yeah, it’s OK, it’s OK,” he said. “You’ve got a problem with the machine?” In a police interview, he allegedly admitted selling the equipment to the victim but denied the indecent assault. “She just bait me for something,” he told police. “Maybe she’s not happy with what she bought. I’ve got no reason to touch any women.” The court heard that he denied making admissions during the recorded phone call. “What, am I going to say yes to the thing I hadn’t done?,” he allegedly told the police interview. “Maybe for something else I said ‘Yes’.” There was no forensic evidence to prove the man had kissed the victim, the court heard. The man’s lawyer told the court that his client had a “myriad” of health issues but was well enough to give instructions. Magistrate Julie O’Donnell asked the defence if the man would continue to contest the matter, given the “overwhelmingly strong” prosecution case. The contest hearing is scheduled for Dandenong Magistrates’ Court in October.

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Dandenong Star Journal - 09th July 2019  

Dandenong Star Journal - 09th July 2019