Businessman guilty in 'unusual' assault

THE 14-year-old girl was “provocative and cheeky”, so when it looked as if she was about to lash out at him, Peter Miller got in first, a court has heard.

The Gladstone businessman pushed the girl off a chair during a Biloela music festival, causing her to land face first on the concrete.

She suffered a chipped tooth and bruising.

It was an act that might have forced Miller out of business.

But the girl claimed it had a much worse effect on her life.

She said just looking at her repaired tooth reminded her of the pain she experienced that night and had caused her to mistrust people.

Yesterday Miller, 58, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court to assault occasioning bodily harm on March 8 last year.

Crown Prosecutor David Funch described the circumstances of the case as “very unusual”.

The girl was a complete stranger to Miller, but she knew him through his then girlfriend.

Defence barrister Jeff Clarke said Miller did not set out to cause trouble that day.

Miller was a well-respected Gladstone businessman, he said.

Miller felt a great sense of shame and embarrassment and feared his reputation was harmed as a result of a criminal charge.

“This does seem to be out of character for him. He pretty much stays at home now and limits social outings. He used to play the bass guitar in bands for many years,” Mr Clarke said.

Miller had a Blue Card, helped out at the local respite centre and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and a number of other associations.

With a conviction, his membership of the associations would be compromised and he would have to close his doors.

Judge Terence Martin said Miller's offending was “well and truly at the lower end of the scale of seriousness”.

“You can count yourself unlucky to find yourself in this position,” he said to Miller.

“Your involvement was the result of the fact she had issues with your then girlfriend.

“I accept you are genuinely remorseful and embarrassed.

“As you would know, 14-year-olds can be quite cheeky, but we have the obligation to show restraint.”

Miller was fined $500 and ordered to pay $1000 compensation. No conviction was recorded.

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