A Brisbane magistrate has convicted a man who threatened to set fire to a Muslim woman’s headscarf of common assault and fined him $500.
A Brisbane magistrate has slammed a man who threatened to set alight a Muslim woman’s headscarf, telling the 44-year-old his behaviour was offensive and an attack on all Muslim women.
Dominic James Proberts was convicted of common assault and fined $500 on Monday after pleading guilty to the September 6 incident at West End in Brisbane’s inner city.
The Brisbane Magistrates Court heard the victim, aged 26, and a female friend were walking past the Boundary Hotel wearing hijabs covering their heads, necks and shoulders when Proberts confronted them at about 1.30pm.
“The male has come out and leant forward, extended his right arm (and) holding a cigarette lighter with a flame close to the complainant’s face, saying: `I want to burn your f…ing scarf’,” police prosecutor Sergeant Cheryl Sayer told the court on Monday.
Sgt Sayer said the shocked woman, who had just left an Islamic centre, looked to another man who had come out of the hotel for help but the second man looked at both women and said “terrorist”.
The woman made a formal complaint to police, who charged Proberts after reviewing CCTV footage.
Proberts’ lawyer Rob Martin said his client, a landscaper, had been having a beer after work with friends, discussing the “world climate” and had gone outside for a cigarette when he made the “throwaway comment”.
Mr Martin said his client was remorseful and hadn’t meant any harm.
Magistrate John McGrath criticised his behaviour.
“What your behaviour demonstrates to me quite clearly is a complete absence of tolerance of the right of another to practise their religious beliefs,” he told Proberts.
“Your behaviour was so offensive and so anti-social, not only was it an attack on this particular complainant but on all those who seek to follow this religion by dressing in this way.”
The magistrate recorded a conviction despite a request by Mr Martin not to.
Proberts left the court with his face covered under a jacket and sprinted down the street to avoid media.