Prison guard gets off assault charge
An off-duty prison guard thought he saw two baby-smugglers holding a young woman against her will in a Burger King booth.
“I thought... it didn’t seem a very normal grouping of people. I thought just maybe there was something sinister going on,” Angus Simon MacGillivray, 57, told a Palmerston North District Court hearing yesterday.
He was found not guilty of an indecent assault charge that arose from his actions on April 10. He was accused of touching a heavily pregnant woman’s breast and stomach.
The incident was at the Fitzherbert Ave Burger King in Palmerston North.
The woman was sitting opposite two friends.
But Mr MacGillivray, who went to the fast-food outlet after drinking two jugs of beer at the RSA, read the situation differently.
He said the pregnant woman, who is South American, looked uneasy in the company of two women he thought were Asian.
The court was told he thought she could have been held under duress, possibly as part of a people-smuggling operation.
After he sat at their booth and touched the pregnant woman in some way, she jumped up and fled.
Mr MacGillivray also left, saying he saw men on cellphones he thought could have been the “pimps”.
He said his experience as a prison guard gave him a sense of when something untoward was happening, although he accepted he was wrong this time.
“I just misread the situation. I’m absolutely pissed off I’m in here,” he told police in a recorded interview played to the court.
“If she wanted an out, I went up there to give her that chance.
‘‘I asked: ‘Is everything all right?’ Next minute they all jumped up; they thought I was a monster.”
The pregnant woman said Mr MacGillivray sat close to her, forcing her to shuffle sideways.
She said he kept mentioning the word ‘‘happy’’ and she said he touched her breast.
Judge Barbara Morris acknowledged there was confusion about what happened. The case was ‘‘troubling’’ and Mr MacGillivray might have been feeling the effects of the beer he had consumed.
She was not satisfied the charge was proved beyond reasonable doubt.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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