A CHARLES Sturt University student who took photos inside a supreme court murder trial, to prove to her lecturer she had attended the court house, has escaped conviction and instead been placed on a two-year community release order.
Esrah El Hourani, 21, of Rankin Street, Bathurst, appeared in person before magistrate Cate Follent charged with using a recording device in court premises.
In a letter written to the court, El Hourani said her intention in taking the photos was to prove to her lecturer that she "had indeed attended the necessary court trial for the purposes of completing my assignment".
"Looking back now it was such a stupid thing to do as it has caused me much grief and stress," she wrote.
"I understand my actions were illegal and completely unacceptable and I'm sorry and accept full responsibility," she added.
The court heard El Hourani was a criminal justice student undertaking a degree at Charles Sturt University with the aim of joining the Australian Federal Police.
She said she was concerned her efforts at university "will amount to nothing should a conviction be recorded against me".
She told the court she works "extremely hard at uni", adding she "left family behind in Sydney [to attend university]" and had never been in trouble before.
She said she "deeply regretted my actions and give the court a sincere undertaking I will not re-offend".
Police facts handed to the court told how El Hourani attended Bathurst Court House on December 3, 2018 and asked for permission from court security to sit in on the court matter. She stated she was a student at Charles Sturt University and wanted to sit in on the matter for an assignment.
At the end of the court proceedings on December 3, a member of the jury approached court security, as they believed the accused had been taking photos inside the court room during the trial.
When court security seized El Hourani's phone, they found photos taken inside the court and court room, and police were contacted.