Man charged with indecent assault fails to see problem

A MAN charged with indecently assaulting two girls at Lennox Head in June has described allegedly touching the nine and 10 years olds gently on the bottom as "a minimally sexual gesture."

When Ian Thornton, of Mittagong, appeared in Lismore Local Court yesterday via video link from Silverwater jail to face four counts of indecent assault, he immediately discharged his solicitor Hugh Van Dugteren from defending him.

Thornton then tendered a multiple page statement of evidence for Magistrate David Heilpern to read, before pleading not guilty to all charges.

"I'm not challenging anything that the girls said in my statement," Thornton said.

"What I do challenge is some of the things that have been fabricated by police."

Continuing to represent himself, Thornton told Mr Heilpern "If you're not going to dismiss the charges now I would like to apply for bail."

During his bail application, Thornton denied allegedly touching the girls in the kitchen, but agreed he touched both girls in a courtyard at the Lennox Head Youth Hostel.

"Yes very gently, very gently."

"So I don't think it was an assault; it was on the behind and it is fairly commonly done and it wasn't indecent."

"I said in my statement I touched them on the backside as a minimally sexual gesture."

"I said in my statement my sexual attraction was restrained."

Mr Thornton then told the court the laws it was relying on to prosecute him were from the 1900's.

"You see nothing essentially wrong with touching children on the buttocks," Mr Heilpern asked Thornton.

"They didn't indicate at all that they thought it was inappropriate, or they were scared," Thornton said.

"These things seem to be made up by the police."

Mr Heilpern told Mr Thornton "we're on different planets."

"On planet Earth it is a criminal offence to touch girls on the buttocks."

Mr Heilpern urged Thornton to get legal representation before his next appearance in September.


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