Jail despite not guilty finding
A BOARDER who stabbed his 71-year-old Tweed Heads flatmate with a knife will remain in custody indefinitely, despite escaping an attempted murder charge on grounds he was mentally ill.
In a judge-alone trial at Lismore District Court, Judge James Black yesterday found Shon Antaw, 39, not guilty of wounding with intent to murder Mervyn ‘Curly’ Ryland at a flat in Binya Avenue, Tweed Heads West, on November 4, 2008.
He was also found not guilty of a charge of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Before the court were extensive medical and psychological reports on the mental health issues – schizophrenia suffered by Antaw, now an inmate of the Long Bay prison hospital.
Judge Black ordered Antaw be detained by Corrective Services until he is released by due process of law, recommending the Minister of Health and the Mental Health Review Tribunal be notified.
He found Antaw not guilty under the provisions of the Mental Health (Criminal Proceedings) Act by reason of his mental illness.
In Crown evidence, neighbours at the residential complex described how Mr Ryland, wearing satin boxer shorts, awoke them up at 4.30am banging on their door and covered in blood. “I could see his intestines protruding out of the cut,” a neighbour told police in her statement.
Mr Ryland was stabbed by Antaw in his chest and abdomen, and slashed across his back.
At the time of his arrest Antaw gave Tweed Heads investigating officer Detective Sergeant Frank Natoli a ‘confusing’ version of events, stating he was ‘cleansing the victim for his past sins’.
Police facts in the Crown case stated Antaw was previously under the guidance of a Mental Health team at the Tweed Valley Clinic and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Mr Ryland told police it was an unprovoked attack, with his boarder acting strangely and talking about killing someone or something in the days leading up to the vicious attack.