Man jailed for groping successfully appeals indefinite term

Brisbane Supreme District Court
Brisbane Supreme District Court Rae Wilson

A MAN, imprisoned for groping women at Ipswich and Brisbane's southside, has successfully fought a decision to keep him in jail indefinitely.

David James Tilbrook, 22, had been ordered detained indefinitely under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act, after a successful appeal by the Attorney-General against Tilbrook's original release date of May this year. He challenged that decision in the Court of Appeal.

Tilbrook was jailed for following a 36-year-old woman from the Ipswich Railway Station to Ipswich City Square carpark where he grabbed her breasts with both hands from behind and squeezed her tightly in 2007.

He also lifted a 19-year-old's skirt and squeezed her buttocks, and touched a 41-year-old woman's genital area after pulling her dress up at Garden City Shopping Centre in 2009.

After attending a special needs school to Year 10, Tilbrook began an apprenticeship at Caloundra City Council as a landscaper but was fired after he was charged with sexually assault.

He also worked at Ipswich City Council but was dismissed after kicking a colleague.

Earlier this year, Justice Margaret Wilson ordered Tilbrook remain in jail for further treatment because she was satisfied he would commit a serious sexual offence if released.

"The likely victim of such reoffending is an adult woman, previously unknown to him, in a public place," she said.

But Court of Appeal Justice John Muir, with support from two fellow justices in a judgment delivered on Friday, found the force Tilbrook applied in the attacks was not "of such a nature and degree" to constitute "a serious sexual offence".

He said it could not be doubted the dangerous prisoner act had "the potential to operate to the detriment of a prisoner" and found the act's "drastic interference with rights and freedoms" was not intended for "relatively minor sexual offending against adults"

"(Tilbrook's) conduct, reprehensible though it undoubtedly was, falls short of that necessary to constitute a serious sexual offence," he said.

Topics:  appeal jail sexual offence

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