Melissa Chapman.
Melissa Chapman. Craig Warhurst

Racial slur ends in pub biffo

A HOT summer night flared into something hotter for Melissa Chapman when her evening out with friends got caught up in a hotel biffo.

A Bundaberg court heard that as Chapman and her group walked past the Melbourne Hotel just before 10pm on a Friday night in January, a verbal exchange took place with drinkers on the hotel's outdoor balcony.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland said there were many people at the hotel, some seated outdoors, when the verbal argument took place.

Chapman then crossed a roadway and walked to the table where two women were.

Snr Cnst Bland said Chapman went to the women and struck her fist to the face of one into her right eye socket,causing instant pain.

Then from behind she struck the second woman to the side of her face with a closed fist.

Other hotel patrons led Chapman away and she walked away.

Chapman pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to two counts of assault at 9.50pm on January 13.

Ambulance and police were called to the scene and the two injured women taken to Bundaberg Hospital.

Officers at the Police Beat identified her from CCTV footage.

Snr Cnst Bland said officers went to the hospital and saw one woman suffering bruising and swelling to her right eye, the other with a swollen lip and minor bruising.

Defence lawyer Gavin James said Chapman had been out drinking with friends and was walking home when she says people at the hotel began yelling at her group.

"She heard a racial slur and went in to ask what they said. She ended up assaulting them,” Mr James said.

"She says she was called a black ***t. Enough for her to go storming in.

"She had been drinking heavily. It was the anniversary of her mother's death.”

Magistrate Belinda Merrin told Chapman many people deal with grief and this was no excuse for violence.

Ms Merrin said she had the option of just walking away but walked over and punched the women in the head.

It was fortunate their injuries had not been serious.

Taking into consideration her lack of previous offending, Chapman was sentenced to 18 months supervised probation.



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