BREAKING NEWS: Magistrate unleashes on mother-and-daughter for toilet paper brawl that shocked Australia – slamming the younger shopper for ‘taking the law into her own hands’
- Meriam and Treiza Bebawy had claimed they were acting in self-defence
- They brawled with another shopper over toilet paper at Chullora Woolworths
- But there argument was refuted by a magistrate on Monday morning
- The court has been shown new CCTV footage of their violent brawl
- Magistrate Peter Bugden compared their brawl to a rugby league biff
Australia’s infamous mother-and-daughter toilet paper brawlers have been slammed by a magistrate who compared their scuffle in a supermarket aisle to a rugby league blue.
Meriam and Treiza Bebawy, 23 and 61, were found guilty of affray charges on Monday over a wild brawl at a south-west Sydney Woolworths at the height of panic-buying earlier this year.
The family had tried to argue they were acting in self-defence after fellow shopper Tracy Hickson snatched a pack from their loaded-up trolley that manic March morning.
But Magistrate Peter Bugden today rejected their defence as he finally brought the humiliating saga to an end some four months after the fact.
Mother-daughter Meriam and Treiza Bebawy, above, were each found guilty of the charge of affray – with the younger woman, 23, getting hit with a criminal conviction
Healthcare worker Meriam Bebawy had told police they ‘urgently’ needed loo roll as her mother Treiza (right) ran a family day care centre
Magistrate Peter Bugden took particular aim at the younger woman, saying: ‘She took the law into her own hands’.
The softly-spoken magistrate had spent the weekend mulling over the farcical fight and slapped Ms Bebawy with a criminal conviction and a good behaviour bond.
The magistrate ruled Meriam had chosen to ‘smash’ the snatched toilet paper pack out of the victim’s hands.
He said she had then acted inappropriately by continuing to lash out. She had told police ‘I hit her across the face, thinking if i hurt her, she’d let go of my hair.’
The magistrate said: ‘I do not think it was appropriate that Meriam Bebawy continued in the way she did after she saw what she regarded as her toilet roll taken.’
Mr Bugden said Ms Bebawy’s mother, Egyptian migrant Treiza, then entered the fray, striking victim Tracy Hickson.
‘Was that a natural reaction from a mother seeing their daughter involved in a fight? Maybe.
‘I’m reminded of an analogy from rugby league… these days, it’s the second man into the fight who gets the penalty.’
Mobile phone footage had captured Ms Hickson demanding just one pack from the pair, who had filled up their trolley with eight.
A furious Treiza told her: ‘No, not one pack’.
The pair claimed they needed toilet paper ‘urgently’ after a fruitless hunt through Sydney stores and a failed attempt to purchase through Click&Collect
Meriam Bebawy, 23, (left) told police in an electronically recorded interview that they weren’t like an ‘average’ family in their situation. Treiza Bebawy claimed in her police interview that their alleged victim had sworn at them and used the F word – which she said she has never used in her life
The court had heard evidence that the fight had came about after they had suffered through a fruitless, week-long search for toilet paper, including a failed attempt to buy some packs through Click&Collect.
Treiza ran a family daycare centre, they argued, and Meriam needed to take a load back home to Wollongong.
The wild incident allegedly occurred as a crowd of as many as 40 people bolted inside the store in a rush for toilet paper as doors opened that Saturday morning.
The magistrate ultimately spared Treiza Bebawy a conviction and handed her a good behaviour bond, saying that neither had any criminal record.
Despite the stiffer sentence for Meriam Bebawy, he said she was a person of ‘excellent character’.
Neither were at court for the decision and were instead represented by a lawyer.
The charge of ‘affray’ means that a person acts of threatens ‘unlawful violence’ which could cause a person of ‘reasonable firmness’ to fear for their safety.