Carissa Estelle Howlett
Carissa Estelle Howlett

Young St George mother remains in jail, gives middle finger to court

CARISSA Estelle Howlett had the nerve to flip off a southwest court while the magistrate wasn't looking.

Sitting in Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre and appearing via videolink, the 21-year-old mother of a three-year-old fidgeted with an object during the course of her hearing.

Howlett faced the St George Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty on October 20 for charges which included wilful damage and breaching her parole.

Police prosecutor sergeant Heather Whiting told the court that Howlett was in an argument and yelled, "you're lucky I don't burn this place down," inside a residence on October 5.

Sergeant Whiting said when the victim returned to the residence at a later time, Howlett said, "I hope you have fun cleaning up your mess."

"The victim had returned home and observed her kitchen table turned upside down and the contents on the floor; the kitchen kettle and toaster on the floor, milk and water spilt over the floor and tables, and finally observed her television lay flat on the floor," Sergeant Whiting told the court.

As Magistrate Tracy Mossop was looking away from the screen, Howlett flipped her middle finger to the camera.

"Did I see what I thought I saw," Magistrate Mossop said.

"Yep," replied Sergeant Whiting.

"I'm not sentencing Ms Howlett if she's going to behave like that on videolink," Magistrate Mossop said.

"You have no respect for the court, do you?

"I don't know who or what you were gesturing to, but you're not funny... get your hand away from your face.

"Do you understand you are being sentenced today, sitting in Brisbane Women's?

"I'm listening to the facts, do you not hear what's being said?" Magistrate Mossop said.

Howlett replied with, "Not really, she's talking low."

Magistrate Mossop asked Howlett if that's "any way to behave" because she can't hear the facts.

"I'm just retaliating to his laughter I saw," Howlett said.

Magistrate Mossop said everyone was outside and there's "not anybody in the court."

"It's not all about you, maybe that's half your problem with your offending," Magistrate Mossop said.

Continuing on with the facts, Sergeant Whiting said Howlett participated in an interview.

"The defendant stated she got angry and did something stupid," Sergeant Whiting said.

"She states it can never go her way."

Sergeant Whiting then read out Howlett's criminal history, which includes a number of offences against the same victim, and of property damage.

"Ms Howlett was exactly the same as what she was in this sentence which was quite belligerent, and does not seem to understand the seriousness of what she is doing," Sergeant Whiting told the court.

"Her reaction when something doesn't go her way is to, obviously, damage and threaten and harass... though she feels it's the other way around."

Solicitor Michael Corbin said it was the third time he's appeared before Magistrate Mossop for a sentencing for Howlett.

"Unfortunately I've said it all before, there's not much I can add to that," Mr Corbin said.

"What I can say... is this: looking at her record, I must acknowledge that the offences which she is to be sentenced today - breach the suspended sentence issued by the court on 25 August this year.

"She also caused breach of her parole.

"The court's only option really is what is a custodial sentence."

Magistrate Mossop read out Howlett's extensive criminal history, including previous charges of breaching probation, breaching parole, serious assault, obstructing police, and public nuisance, among others.

"You need to learn respect," Magistrate Mossop told Howlett.

"And one hopes that whilst you are in prison, you have the time to reflect on what your future is going to entail."

Howlett was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with parole eligibility in January 2021.

No restitution was sought.

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