In October 2018, a 39-year-old woman was assaulted when walking to work at a Melbourne hospital, when a 19-year-old man grabbed her from behind, put his hands over her mouth, and dragged her into a laneway.
Jackson Williams, now 21, was found not guilty of intending to sexually assault the woman on October 21. He has been found guilty of common assault over the attack.
Chilling security footage showed the incident unfold, which was intervened by off-duty New Zealand detective Adrian Woodgate, who was in Melbourne holidaying with his family.
Judge Mandy Fox said while the incident was an "intentional and violent assault", she was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Williams had intended to sexually attack the woman.
"Forcing a person to a more secluded spot is consistent with a range of criminal intentions," Fox said."It may be tempting to reason that because his body is on top of hers for a period during the assault … then there must be a sexual intention."
Fox added, "However, a dispassionate viewing of the CCTV footage shows that he is using his weight to control the complainant, who might be smaller and weaker but is still resisting and screaming.
"I, therefore, find the accused not guilty."
While a person's intent is is hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, many have taken to Twitter to criticise Judge Fox's not guilty verdict.