Ex-Corrimal Bowling Club president Max Hobbs has failed to have his conviction for indecently assaulting a female club employee overturned on appeal.
Hobbs was charged in 2017 after the woman complained to a manager and then police that Hobbs had deliberately slid his finger down the back of her pants and flicked her underwear while she was working.
Hobbs denied the allegations but was found guilty by Magistrate Peter Thompson after a Local Court hearing in August last year.
Hobbs was fined $1000 and placed on a 15-month community corrections order at the time, which included a condition banning him from attending the bowling club for the duration of the order.
Hobbs launched an appeal against the guilty finding, which was heard in Wollongong District Court on Friday.
Defence lawyer Fiona Jowett said Hobbs maintained his innocence.
"He maintains he had no intention of touching her buttocks," Ms Jowett said.
The woman gave evidence in the Local Court hearing that she was crouching down with her knees on the floor and her heels resting on her buttocks, speaking to two children, when she felt a finger go down the inside of her pants, towards her bum, and “tug” at her underwear.
A number of aspects of his version and interview [with police] are of concern
She said she jumped up quickly and turned around, prompting Hobbs to smile at her and say “whoops, sorry” before he walked off.
Hobbs subsequently told police he had been trying to “tap her on the back” to say goodbye and his finger had slipped into her pants when she stood up.
“I never made contact until she moved up to touch my hand,” he said during his evidence.
However, Magistrate Thompson found Hobbs' evidence wanting - a sentiment echoed by Judge Chris O'Brien when he dismissed Hobbs' appeal on Friday.
"A number of aspects of his version and interview [with police] are of concern," Judge O'Brien said in accepting that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.
However, Judge O'Brien agreed to reduce Hobbs' penalty by removing the community corrections order component of the sentence entirely. It means Hobbs, who has since been diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, will now be able to return to the club.