Geraldton mother gets spent conviction, community order for school assault

Lachlan AllenMidwest Times
Geraldton woman Michaela Elaine Coralie Dann has been charged with unlawful assault.
Camera IconGeraldton woman Michaela Elaine Coralie Dann has been charged with unlawful assault. Credit: Michaela Dann/Facebook/RegionalHUB

A Geraldton mother who tore out clumps of a woman’s hair in an school assault earlier this year has been handed a community-based order and spent conviction.

Michaela Elaine Coralie Dann appeared in Geraldton Magistrates Court on Monday for sentencing on charges of common assault and no authority to drive.

The 26-year-old woman previously pleaded guilty to the charges on August 1.

On February 4, a Rangeway Primary School child was mistakenly placed on a bus at the end of the school day, but when it was realised they were not meant to be on it, the student was immediately returned to the school.

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Police prosecutor Sgt Paul Birkinshaw said this prompted a dispute between a member of staff at the school, Ms Dann — the mother of the five-year-old child — and her co-accused.

The school worker gathered her belongings and walked towards the office when Ms Dann threw an object at her.

Ms Dann then dragged the victim to the ground and ripped parts of her hair out while staff members tried to pull the 26-year-old off.

Her co-accused in the matter began pulling staff off and Ms Dann slapped the victim in the face, causing bruising to her head.

Lawyer Veronica Randall said her client disagreed with two points in the statement of facts, noting the timeline of the assault and the slap to the face.

Despite this, Ms Dann said she was remorseful for her actions and claimed she was not herself on the day.

Her lawyer asked for a spent conviction on the matter, noting the impact a conviction would have on her studies and employment prospects.

Magistrate Angus Hockton agreed, highlighting the fact that she had a history of driving offences but no instances of violence.

Mrs Randall said she would be unable to receive a working-with-children check if the conviction was recorded and suggested a community-based order appropriate.

Mr Hockton said the assault was a very serious offence, which would have had a big impact on the victim.

However, he noted that Ms Dann had many good references from respected people in the community who spoke highly of her.

He also highlighted the fact that she is studying at TAFE, which is good for herself, the community and her family.

Taking this into consideration, Mr Hockton sentenced her to a 12-month community-based order for the common assault.

She also received a fine of $1800, court costs and nine months disqualification for the no authority to drive charge.

Her co-accused, Rickisha Jane Dann, will appear in Geraldton court on August 29 for sentencing on the common assault charge and a trial allocation date for acting in a disorderly manner.

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