Ex-cabbie sexually assaults woman at workplace

A COURT has been told how a former taxi driver sexually assaulted a woman at her workplace.

Roy Poelstra, 60, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court on Tuesday to one count of sexual assault.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland told the court that on May 6 last year Poelstra was at the victim's workplace.

Poelstra was speaking with the woman before he put his hand up the back of her shirt.

When the woman tried to turn away Poelstra then grabbed her forearm and pulled her close to him.

He tried to kiss the woman and when she turned her head to get away from him the kiss landed on her neck.

When the woman started walking away Poelstra then slapped her on the buttocks.

Sen-Constable Bland said Poelstra made admissions about what he did and to being "infatuated" with the woman.

Poelstra was told not to return to the woman's workplace and his employment as a taxi driver was also terminated.

In September he drove into the woman's workplace.

When she saw him she locked herself in an office and called for help.

Sen-Constable Bland told the court it was when Poelstra returned in September the woman decided to make the complaint to police.

"It happened at the victim's workplace, she should be able to feel safe there," she said.

Poelstra's lawyer Thomas Bray told the court his client had worked as a taxi driver for 20 years before being stood down as a result of the allegations against him.

Mr Bray said his client had a long and good work history and was now in unpaid volunteer work as he transitioned to retirement.

He said Poelstra was also working on skills and strategies to ensure the same thing doesn't happen again.

Mr Bray submitted his client would be suitable for a community service order.

Magistrate Andrew Moloney took into account Poelstra's plea of guilty and his remorse and co-operation, and that there was no alcohol or stalking involved.

He said while the sexual assault offence was serious, the conduct was on the lower scale of seriousness.

"People, especially women, are entitled to go about their work and lives without a man putting their hands on them," he said.

Mr Moloney also took into account Poelstra also struggled to read social cues.

Poelstra was ordered to 120 hours of community service and a conviction was recorded.


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