A Canberra man accused of grabbing a 17-year-old girl by the throat at the aged care home where they worked fought the charges on Monday at a hearing in the ACT Magistrates Court.
The teenager had forgotten to check if there were enough biscuits for the day, she told the court, when the man, Lakshman Senanayake, 68, grabbed her throat and said: “I could kill you.”
Mr Senanayake, of Macgregor, denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault.
He told police in an interview the teenager did not like him and the allegations were a complete fabrication.
The court heard that part of the teenager’s role as carer was to serve the residents’ food, collecting it from the main kitchen and bringing it on a trolley to the residents’ kitchen.
Another part of the role was to check there were enough biscuits for the day’s morning and afternoon teas, and order more if needed from the main kitchen.
At about 8.30am on June 6 last year, the woman returned from the main kitchen with the breakfasts and found Mr Senanayake in the residents’ kitchen, she told the court.
She said when she returned the man was angry and raised his voice at her, asking whether she had checked the biscuits.
“I said no, and that’s when he grabbed me round the throat and said ‘I could kill you’,” she said.
The woman demonstrated in the witness box how she said the man held his arm out and gripped the front of her neck.
She said the man, who she knew as “Lucky”, used “a lot of pressure” and held on for a couple of seconds.
She said she pushed him away, and he said, “sorry darl”.
She told him “you’ve gone too far this time” and then ran from the room to her supervisors, she told the court.
The man had been rude to her that week, the woman said, and had criticised the way she did her job, including such matters as stacking the dishwasher.
In cross-examination of the woman, the man’s defence solicitor suggested there were residents sitting at the tables in the kitchen when the alleged assault was said to have happened.
The woman said she could not recall, but agreed it was a possibility.
The woman denied suggestions from the solicitor that she was drinking from a bottle taken from the fridge when the man approached her about the biscuits.
She denied she “shooed” the man away.
The woman also denied she was lying about the man saying: “I could kill you.”
In a police interview played to the court, Mr Senanayake, who spoke through an interpreter, said the allegations were a complete fabrication.
He said he had only touched the woman’s hand.
The man, who said he had worked at the aged care facility for five years, said the woman was jealous of him and wanted to create problems.
The hearing will continue at a later date.