A police officer who touched six men on the crotch and buttocks during a drunken party was pleaded against his charges on mental health grounds.
Jonathan Robert Willetts, 31, was warned by a judge on Friday that he “can’t get away with this” after his lawyers successfully applied to have his charges heard under the Mental Health Act.
Willetts pleaded guilty to six counts of combined assault in connection with a series of incidents at a party. According to court documents, Willetts was charged for his behavior at the party.
No conviction was recorded against Mr. Willetts.
He was then Senior Constable and had been transferred to the Police Transport Command four months earlier.
Most of the party group arrived at the venue after catching a minibus. According to a statement of agreed facts, Willetts was in a bathroom in a mall before boarding the bus when he slapped a man on the buttocks.
Over the next five and a half hours, he similarly attacked five other men who could not be identified for legal reasons.
At the venue, he walked behind a man and touched his buttocks, the incident being caught on CCTV.
Sometime in the early afternoon, Willetts mingled and chatted with a man while they sipped drinks before grabbing his crotch and letting his hand rest there for a second.
At one point he walked up to a group of men at the party and asked where his drink and vape were.
Then he put his hands behind a man, touched his buttocks and asked, “Where is it?”
At the same time, he put his hand between his legs and touched his genital area, according to the statement of facts.
On another occasion, when a man tried to slide past Willetts, who was seated at a table, he ran his fingers along the man’s crotch.
During the evening he passed another man in the bathrooms. After Willetts made a comment about winning $2000 on the slots, Willetts grabbed the man’s buttocks.
Willetts requested that his charges be heard on mental health grounds. He was diagnosed with PTSD at court after witnessing several traumatic events while serving in the police force, including an assault in court as a prosecutor.
Judge Emma Manea told the court Willetts reported drinking eight bourbon and whiskey that day.
Ms Manea described the attacks as “serious” but below average for this type of offence.
“They are more than pranks, they are criminal behavior, which is unacceptable,” she said.
“That might have been the culture 20 to 30 years ago, but that’s not how people behave.”
The court heard Willetts had undergone psychological treatment and Ms Manea said he had good prospects for rehabilitation.
She dealt with his allegations on mental health grounds and ordered that he be placed under the care of a psychologist for 12 months.
“It’s not like you can get away with it,” Ms. Manea said.
“In my opinion someone like you has already suffered significant trouble, you have been taken to court, suffered significant embarrassment and the loss of your career… But don’t underestimate that these are serious matters.”