Bluesfest charges dropped

DAVID NOFERI suffered severe head injuries 13 years ago when hit by a boat propeller while snorkelling.

His subsequent health issues were successfully put forward in the Lismore Local Court yesterday as reason to have serious assault charges against him dismissed.

The 35-year-old Byron Bay resident faced charges of affray, offensive language and two counts of assault against two security guards at the Bluesfest festival in an incident previously labelled in court as having ‘racist' overtones.

It occurred just after midnight on April 3 when Noferi was alleged to have jumped a queue for a festival bus. Police accused him of threatening to put a knife in the throat of one security guard, before making racist slurs when the guards stopped him jumping ahead of people waiting to board the bus.

Defence lawyer Amy Barker put forward medical rep-orts on her client to Magistrate Jeff Linden and asked that the matters against him be dealt with under mental health provisions.

This was opposed by police prosecutor Sgt Brett Gradisnik, who said there must be ‘a treatment plan' in place to ensure Noferi did not reoff-end. He said Noferi was aff-ected by alcohol and drugs at the time of his threatening behaviour and a MERITreport stated he had long-standing issues with alcohol and other substances.

Ms Barker said Noferi had a permanent acquired brain injury with marked changes in his personality, such asbecoming short-tempered and argumentative.

Mr Linden said reports showed Noferi to be making a high level of commitment to making positive changes to his behaviour and he would dismiss the charges under mental health provisions.



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