Man groped girl, 14, while she was on bike ride with friend

A Northern Rivers man who groped a 14-year-old girl while she was on a bike ride with her friend has been sentenced.

Keegan Mani Hamilton, 19, had pleaded guilty to intentionally sexually touching a child aged between 10 and 16 years.

A further charge of the same nature and another for failing to appear in court were taken into account at his sentencing.

Hamilton, who has lived in Tweed Heads and South Murwillumbah in recent years, was stumbling and carrying a cask of wine when he came across the two girls on a busy Tweed Heads road on February 14 last year.

He propositioned the girls and was turned down, but proceeded to grab one of them on the inner thigh, before groping the other girl on the bottom.

Before Tweed Heads Local Court on Friday, defence solicitor Rachel Thampapillai said the incident was "opportunistic and impulsive" but she said her client's guilty pleas demonstrated "a level of remorse".

She said her client had an upbringing "marked by significant instability" and he therefore had "fewer emotional resources" to guide his decision-making.

She said this period, Hamilton's first time in custody, had been a "sobering experience".

The DPP prosecutor argued Hamilton must be sentenced to prison.

"A teenage girl should be able to go for a bike ride in the evening without … sexual touching by a stranger in the street," she said.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy took into account the offence against the girl took place over clothing and "for a short duration" and that Hamilton is "still quite young".

"I do also take into account you were aware the victim was only a child," Mr Dunlevy said.

"You were persistent in your conduct and the victim was left in a distressed state."

He sentenced Hamilton to 12 months in prison.

He will be eligible for parole from May 8 this year.

He was also convicted for stalking or intimidation, property damage and two counts of intimidating police over a separate incident in Banora Point on December 12 last year.

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