Heidi Michelle Ward.
Heidi Michelle Ward.

Whitsunday businesswoman breaches bail, swears at police

A Whitsunday businesswoman and former council candidate has fronted court after calling police "c--ts" and 'f---ing idiots" on New Year's Eve.

Heidi Michelle Ward faced Proserpine Magistrates Court this week charged with obstructing a police officer in the vicinity of a licensed premises, committing public nuisance in the vicinity of a licensed premises and breaching bail.

Magistrate James Morton noted Ward already had charges proceeding through the courts dating back to December 2019 and Ward confirmed this, saying she had pleaded not guilty.

The court heard one of the charges - assault occasioning bodily harm - was progressing through Mackay District Court while others were proceeding through the magistrates court.

Ward's most recent three charges were laid on New Year's Eve after she swore at police and refused to be breathalysed.

Ward's case got off to a false start on Monday, when she told Magistrate James Morton she was not sure what she wanted to do with the charges.

 

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The 48-year-old woman told Mr Morton she had lost her bail paperwork and phoned police to check her bail conditions.

She claimed she received the wrong information from police and did not intentionally breach her bail.

When Mr Morton asked if Ward wanted time to think about what to do and speak to the police prosecutor, she agreed, and returned to the bar table a short while later to plead guilty to her three new charges.

The Woodwark woman wept at the bar table as she entered the guilty pleas.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Sarah Rowe told the court police were patrolling the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct on New Year's Eve when they saw Ward near La Tabella.

Sen-Constable Rowe said Ward appeared to be drunk and grabbed one of the officer's arms to steady herself, telling them she was behaving and only had a bit of a drink.

Heidi Michelle Ward was in the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct when police approached her for a breath test. Photo: File
Heidi Michelle Ward was in the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct when police approached her for a breath test. Photo: File

The court heard a little while later Ward was eating near Mama Africa when police approached her for a breath test.

Sen-Constable Rowe told the court it was a condition of Ward's bail that she must submit to alcohol testing when police asked her in the Safe Night Precinct and the reading must be zero.

Police had checked her bail conditions before asking Ward for the breath test, but Ward told them she was no longer on the conditions.

Police again asked her to do the alcohol test, but she called an officer a "c---", pulled the straw from the machine, blew through the empty straw and then threw it away.

Sen-Constable Rowe told the court Ward then gave a sample without enough breath and continued arguing, so she was arrested.

 

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Ward pulled her arms away when police tried to handcuff her and continued to struggle with police as they tried to search her against the police car.

She was then taken to the watch-house.

Sen-Constable Rowe said Ward continuously swore at police, calling them "c---s" and "f---ing idiots" during the incident.

During the court proceedings, Ward said she did not agree with the facts but was "going to accept it".

Ward told the court she was a professional who had owned and operated award-winning businesses, written two books, had done tertiary study and was now operating a consultancy business.

Ward said she did not realise her conditions were still in place and on the night in question she approached a police officer of her own volition, which she would not have done if she knew she was on bail conditions.

Whitsunday police were patrolling the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct on New Year’s Eve. Photo: File
Whitsunday police were patrolling the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct on New Year’s Eve. Photo: File

Ward said the behaviour was out of character.

"I have been falsely arrested, is it, four or five times now," Ward said.

"I have no faith left in the police.

"It's destroyed me, it doesn't stop.

"It's not good behaviour, your honour, but I'm frightened, frustrated, I'm angry, all natural human emotions for what I've actually been through.

"I shouldn't have done it so I'm guilty for it."

Magistrate James Morton told Ward to take a different approach when out and about.

Ward was fined a total of $700 and no convictions were recorded.

At the end of proceedings, she used her parting words at the bar table to tell the Whitsunday Times she would "prefer not to become the front page of the paper".



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