Woman fined for Bendigo nightclub assault

A Bendigo magistrate has said courts must do what they can to stem the rising tide of late-night assaults in the city’s CBD. 

Magistrate Jennifer Tregent’s call came during the sentencing of a Junortoun woman who attacked another young female inside Bendigo’s Huha nightclub.

Jessica Burns, 20, faced the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday charged with one count of recklessly causing injury.

Burns had originally contested the charges, at a court appearance in May, saying it was a friend, not her, who had assaulted the victim.

But after discussion between the prosecution and defence, she entered a plea of guilty yesterday.

Prosecuting, Leading Senior Constable Dave Somerton said Burns was upstairs at Huha on August 13 last year when she confronted the victim about 1am.

“The accused approached the victim and started a verbal argument regarding the accused’s child,” he said.

“She punched the victim to the head a number of times with a closed fist.”

Leading Senior Constable Somerton said the victim sustained a large bruise to her head in the attack.

Burns’ defence lawyer Garry Quinn said his client had no criminal history and had “turned her life around” since the incident.

“At the time she was going to nightclubs two to three times per week and just working casually,” he said.

“Now she is in full-time work and her circumstances have changed.”

Ms Tregent said she accepted the assault was out of character for Burns.

But she said she had to use the young woman as an example to others that assaults would not be tolerated by the courts.

“I have heard the same type of plea over and over – a woman goes out and gets into a physical fight over a minor disagreement about somebody’s boyfriend or something,” Ms Tregent said.

Leading Senior Constable Somerton said it was the expectation of the public that the courts deter this kind of violence.

Ms Tregent said she knew alcohol-fuelled violence was a big concern in Bendigo.

“While I am confident this was out of character for you, I have to at least in part reflect the nature and prevalence of these matters,” she told Burns.

Ms Tregent imposed an $800 fine without conviction.