Cafe worker ‘shoulder barged’ after asking for COVID details
A MAN shoulder barged a female employee when he took exception to being asked to sign in as part of COVID-19 contact tracing measures.
An Ipswich court has heard Hawes was eating food at a cafe that he had purchased from another business, when the employee requested he fill out the paperwork.
Brian Peter Hawes, 57, from Brassall, on Tuesday pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to committing a common assault against a 47-year-old woman on Wednesday, August 26 at Yamanto.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Bridie O’Shea said police were called to a disturbance at Yamanto about 1.15pm and found two females, with one of them visibly shaken and upset.
The woman told officers she saw a man seated at a table eating food outside the store and went over to get him to sign the COVID contact sheet with details as required.
Snr Const. O’Shea said the man, identified as Hawes, was reluctant to do so and there was an exchange of words.
The court heard he stood up and pushed the woman with his left shoulder as he walked by, knocking her off balance.
Snr Const. O’Shea said the contact was referred to as “a shoulder-barge”.
The two female workers locked themselves inside the café and called police.
Hawes had left by the time police arrived, but they were given his car registration and he was spoken to later that day at his home.
“He told police he had attended there and says she approached him with attitude, so he wanted to sign it in his own time,” Snr Const. O’Shea said.
“He does not recall shoulder-barging her, and says if he did it would not have been intentional.
“He was adamant they, the women, were the aggressors.”
Defence lawyer Mathew Tyrrell said it was very relevant that only three weeks before the assault Hawes suffered the loss of his girlfriend through an untimely death.
“He was deep in grief at the time,” Mr Tyrrell said.
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said while Dawes was going through grief at the time, the woman was only doing her job.
“She required details for the COVID register and was trying to comply with legal obligations,” Ms Sturgess said.
“You did not want to and behaved aggressively, and shoulder-barged the woman.
“It is understandable that they feel quite upset and fearful of your conduct. She didn’t know if you were a violent person.”
“You have to flick this around and see the other point of view.
“People (workers) are obliged to comply with these legal health obligations.”
Hawes was fined $750. A conviction was not recorded.