Woman nurses black eyes after female biffo

WHEN a Rocky Glen hotel courtesy bus driver saw two women brawling at the back of the bus she stopped and evicted Courtney Knowles.

Knowles, who was drunk, says she was the victim and had received two black eyes. She took exception at what she perceived was unfair treatment and struck the female driver with her handbag.

The incident took place just before 2am on Sunday, March 13.

Knowles, 27, a chef, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to assault in a public place when adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

Prosecutor Barry Stevens said Knowles and her boyfriend were among several hotel patrons on the courtesy bus when the driver became aware of the disturbance at the back.

The driver saw Knowles being punched and punching back. The other woman was evicted but Knowles had yelled at her and punched the window from inside.

Sergeant Stevens said the driver stopped the bus at a taxi rank on Goondoon St, telling Knowles to get off and catch a taxi home.

He said Knowles got off at the back door, followed by her boyfriend, but was yelling she had left her handbag behind.

Sgt Stevens said that when Knowles was given the handbag she swung it around with enough force to strike the driver, causing her pain to her head, neck and shoulders, and later a headache. Knowles told police she had eight schooners of beer that night.

Lawyer Bradley Krebs said intoxication was the contributor but Knowles became a victim of "an unprovoked, vicious assault" while seated on the courtesy bus.

"She was punched in the head and face several times (and) says she suffered unconsciousness," Mr Krebs said.

"She took issue to being told to leave the bus. She was upset because she felt she was the victim.

"She was not trying to do injury to the bus driver.

"She has no criminal history. It is not her modus operandi to go out on a weekend and cause trouble. Ordinarily she is not an unruly person, even with alcohol."

In his submission before magistrate Melanie Ho, Mr Krebs said there were some unusual features in the case and sought a sentence of unpaid community service.

"She shouldn't have responded in the way she did but she was assaulted and received blows to her head," Mr Krebs said.

Photos of Knowles showing her with two black eyes were submitted.

Ms Ho said that in her mind Knowles was blameless but deliberately swung her bag, hitting the driver, and it was not excusable, saying people employed to do a public service deserved respect.

Knowles was sentenced to 40 hours community service. A conviction was not recorded.



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