Edward James Weiss Peterson pleaded guilty in Mackay Magistrates Court to assault for drunkenly slapping a stranger with a nice haircut for a TikTok video.
Edward James Weiss Peterson pleaded guilty in Mackay Magistrates Court to assault for drunkenly slapping a stranger with a nice haircut for a TikTok video.

TikTok assault: Nursing student thought it would be funny

A Mackay nursing student has been banned from going to any licensed venue in Queensland after he assaulted a stranger with "a nice haircut" for a TikTok video.

Mackay Magistrates Court heard it was all for a gag, but the 20 year old was not laughing when his lawyer had to argue why a conviction should not be recorded despite prior drunken "pest" conduct.

The victim was taking a video when Edward James Weiss Peterson approached from behind, pulled a face and then slapped him on the back of the head - which he showed to police patrolling the city centre.

Prosecutor Chelsea Pearson said Peterson was nearby, but he was too drunk to be interviewed. He later told officers "he was drunk and mucking around".

TikTok app
TikTok app

"He was doing a TikTok trend, which is slapping someone on the back of the head that has a nice haircut," Ms Pearson told the court.

"He thought the victim would take it as a joke."

Defence solicitor Peter Clark, for Strutynski Law, described it as bizarre, a "spontaneous gesture" and "low-level violence" and pushed for no conviction to be recorded.

The court heard Peterson was a part-time baggage handler and in his second year of a nursing degree.

Mr Clark said his client had an appointment with Lives Lived Well and argued a conviction would have a dire impact on his client's career path as a nurse.

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Magistrate Bronwyn Hartigan rejected claims, stated in a reference, this behaviour was "out of character".

The court heard Peterson had received a ticket fine for being a public nuisance, then a banning order for wilful damage - which he breached - and a common assault.

Ms Hartigan pointed out Peterson had the leniency of no conviction recorded three times.

"I'm very surprised that someone who knows that he needs registration as a nurse under the Nursing Act would take this risk … a fourth time," Ms Hartigan said.

"He needs to stay out of the city, he's a pest.

"And he also needs to know that he's too old for replicating TikToks, they're for 12 year olds."

Edward James Weiss Peterson pleaded guilty in Mackay Magistrates Court to assault for drunkenly slapping a stranger with a nice haircut for a TikTok video.
Edward James Weiss Peterson pleaded guilty in Mackay Magistrates Court to assault for drunkenly slapping a stranger with a nice haircut for a TikTok video.

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Ultimately Ms Hartigan gave Peterson one last shot in having no conviction recorded, but in balancing that decision he is banned from any licenced venue - including bottle shops - across Queensland for six months.

Peterson pleaded guilty to common assault in public while adversely affected, which occurred on January 23, 2021.

"I would go so far as to say you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. For somebody who wants to be a nurse, who comes from a very good family, who's been well educated, there is no reason whatsoever that you should be behaving in this way," Ms Hartigan said.

"To be a nurse you have to be a fit and proper person and from where I'm sitting right now, you're not."

Peterson was placed on 12 months probation and must complete 40 hours of unpaid community service.

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