Charges of touching young girls’ upgraded to indecent assault

A MITTAGONG man accused of twice touching two young girls on the bottom at a Lennox Head youth hostel has had his charges upgraded to indecent assault.

Ian Thornton appeared at Lismore Local Court yesterday before Magistrate David Heilpern via video link from the maximum security section of Cessnock jail.

The 51-year-old faced two counts of committing an act of indecency with a victim under 10 years and two counts of committing an act of indecency on a person under 16 years.

The charges related to two alleged incidents when the man allegedly touched two girls aged nine and 10 on the bottom in the hostel kitchen common area and again in a hostel bedroom on June 5.

In a bizarre courtroom outburst when he last appeared on June 10, Thornton contradicted his not guilty plea, describing his actions as a "minimally offensive sexual gesture".

"Something happened I don't mind admitting to," he said.

Prosecutor Ms Coxon indicated the Director of Public Prosecutions had taken carriage of Thornton's matters and requested a brief of evidence be prepared.

"It's noted that the charges at this stage appear to be incorrect," she said.

Ms Coxon told the court the solicitor with carriage of Thornton's matters would be amending the charges from an act of indecency to indecent assault.

Mr Heilpern ordered the brief of evidence to be prepared by August 15, and adjourned Thornton's matters until a date in August.

Thornton, who did not apply for bail, remains in custody.


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