Mon 10 Mar, 2014 08:40 pm
There's this young guy I know, very slightly intellectually disabled. He loves to talk to people, anyone, about anything. About 2 years ago he was talking to a female shop assistant in Big W. She was polite and let him ramble on. Then he started talking to her a bit more and maybe he became a bit of a pest. However, she let this go on for about 9 months. He had NO idea he was doing anything wrong. No one told him to leave the shop assistant alone. In my humble opinion, if the shop assistant was becoming uncomfortable about his 'approaches' she should have reported it to her supervisor so that someone higher up could politely ask this chap to leave her alone or else he will have to be banned from the store.
Naturally it came as quite a shock (9 months later) that this shop assistant took out an AVO order on the poor chap. He had to go to Court. The shop assistant tried to get the AVO to last 2 years but his lawyer got it reduced to 12 months. The shop assistant even added her "aging" mother to the AVO. This guy didn't even know who the shop assistant's mum was, but that didn't matter.
So, banned from Big W for a year, and not being allowed to go within 50 metres of the shop assistant and her mum, this guy tried to get on with his life.
A few short weeks before the 12 months was up this shop assistant reported to the police that she had seen this guy near her residence and got the AVO extended for 6 more months.
A few short weeks before that 6 months was about to expire, the shop assistant decided to go to McDonalds one night after work. She went there with a few of her work mates around 9.30pm. As she was driving into the car park of McDonalds, this poor guy, (the accused) just happened to be walking into the same car park also heading for McDonalds. She goes in one door and he goes in the other door. He starts talking to a male friend in McDonalds, completely oblivious that 'the victim' has also entered the same premises, albeit from another door.
Within a short time 'the victim' gets upset and one of her girl friends calls the police. Without being aware of what is going on with the victim and her friends, the accused and his male friend exit McDonalds and continue to talk outside in the car park, standing near the door that they had just walked out of. Then the victim and her friends get up from the table where they were sitting and proceed to file out of the store, using the very same door that the accused and his friend had just walked out of.
Now... I am trying to figure out.... IF the victim was so terrified and in fear of the accused, why would she choose to use the same door that the accused was still standing so close to outside the store? There were 2 doors. It would seem very reasonable that if I was in fear of a person and wanted to get away from them asap, I certainly wouldn't want to use an exit door that put me within inches of the person I was so terribly afraid of.
The accused has been to court twice since 17th Jan when he was arrested for breach of AVO, and he has had to front up to the Police Station 3 times a week to sign in as part of his bail conditions. The victim has never once stated any times or dates as to when the accused was alleged to have harassed, intimidate, put her in fear of her life etc. so he is unable to try and present some sort of an alibi, not that he could because it's not easy to remember where you were on a given time and day anyway.
CCTV footage from McDonalds has been viewed at the Police Station and nowhere in that footage does it substantiate anything that the victim claimed. I just cannot understand how, in Australia, such injustice can be perpetrated on an innocent hapless individual in this day and age.
I thought that AVO's were meant to protect vulnerable people in real danger, and not to be used by vindictive people who only want to inflict pain on less fortunate people in our society.
We must all learn from this experience and hope that one day we don't look at another person in such a way that causes them to dislike the way you look at them for fear that they might take offence and issue an AVO on us just because we looked the wrong way or said the wrong thing.
It is all so unjust. The next court appearance is supposed to be set for 17th March at 7.30PM. I think that was a typo. I have never heard of anyone (in this small town) having to attend "night court". I don't think we have ever had a "night court" in this town. So, now it is starting to look even more bizarre, and more farcical.
I look forward to the day that justice seems to be done, and that "Legal Aid" is just as good as the other sort. Stayed tuned.
What is an AVO? Sounds like what we know in the U.S. as a restraining order.
Apprehended Violence Order.
Yes, it is the same as a restraining order.
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an Order made by a court against a person who makes you fear for your safety, to protect you from further violence, intimidation or harassment. Yes Restraining Orders are in the USA is also same as AVO.