Neighbour showdown: Man in court over alleged hose spray
A BACKYARD gardener who was found guilty of spraying his neighbours with a garden hose has won his fight to have two assault convictions overturned, after a judge ruled he should never have been convicted.
Robert Paul Hickman, 54, was found guilty of two counts of common assault after a magistrate ruled he had sprayed his neighbours with a garden hose during a dispute in Cairns on January 7, 2019.
During a summary trial in Cairns Magistrates Court, Jasmin Heather Skye Blue testified that she was hanging out clothes on the line, when Mr Hickman threw something at their shared fence after her dog started barking at him.
When her partner Lowane Victor Tufuga came out, Ms Blue told the magistrate that Mr Hickman, who was watering his lawn, sprayed both of them with water "smiling as well while he was doing it".
Mr Tufuga told the magistrate he became "very hot and angry and agitated" and picked up a shovel and went to confront Mr Hickman in his yard before they went their separate ways.
Ms Blue filmed the encounter, but it was noted in court that no water droplets could be seen on her phone camera, nor on Mr Tufuga.
Despite the lack of water, in July the magistrate sentenced Mr Hickman to a three-month good behaviour bond and ordered he pay $600 if he reoffended in that time.
Mr Hickman appealed the conviction, challenging the credibility of the witnesses and arguing that the sentence was too high.
Brisbane District judge Dean Morzone agreed that Mr Hickman should have been found not guilty.
He noted that the neighbours' accounts of the assault were "glaringly improbable" and "grossly exaggerated" when compared with the video evidence.
"The video evidence does not show any water hitting or wetting either complainant to the extent they describe or at all," Judge Morzone found.
Further, Judge Morzone said the events of that day were no more than "trivial neighbourhood dispute" that had no significant impact on the neighbours.
He ruled that Mr Hickman be found not guilty for each of the charges. -NewsRegional