Mary Christmas spitter’s bizarre rant in Gympie court
THE man who pleaded guilty to spitting in a child's face at the Gympie Mary Christmas street festival last year has aimed a bizarre rant at a police prosecutor in court.
Thomas Arthur Ward, 49, reappeared in the Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday after pleading guilty to assault stemming from the holiday-themed CBD shopping event on December 11.
Prosecuting Sergeant Lisa Manns told the court the 14-year-old victim had walked towards a rubbish bin when Mr Ward approached him from the front, walked next to him and spat on his face, hitting the left side of his face with a "large amount" of spit.
Police spoke with the "distressed" victim shortly after and advised him to go to hospital, but could not locate Mr Ward until December 13 at the abandoned Freemasons Hotel on Duke St.
Sgt Manns told the court further checks on Mr Ward had flagged he was the carrier of communicable disease namely AIDS and the victim had undergone testing following the incident, but could not provide an update on the test results.
She said the incident appeared to be a "completely random attack".
Mr Ward said he "took offence" to the "insinuation" that he was "AIDS ridden" and that he "terrorised children".
He said he was approached by "little cronies" and "youths" who asked him to buy them cigarettes before one of them "booted" him in the leg, as part of a lengthy rant in which he also called Sgt Manns a "disgusting grub".
Magistrate Chris Callaghan said Mr Ward had raised a "factual dispute" with the prosecution and the matter would need to proceed to a hearing.
"I just want to plead guilty to it," Mr Ward said.
"I don't care what you want to do," Mr Callaghan replied.
"You have pleaded guilty, you are guilty of it, the plea has been entered on the record. What you're doing is raising a factual matter that will affect the sentence that is going to be imposed upon you."
Mr Callaghan ordered a brief of evidence be prepared by February 25, and set the matter aside for a possible hearing date on April 28.
Mr Ward did not give consent to the hearing date and was remanded in custody to appear via videolink on January 28.