‘Very concerning’: Woman kicked and bit emergency workers
A woman who assaulted a Corrective Services officer, a nurse, a friend and tried also to assault police, has been sentenced for her crimes.
The 35-year-old, who has lived in various parts of the Northern Rivers, faced Byron Bay Local Court via video link for sentencing on Monday.
She had pleaded guilty to various offences including assaulting a Corrective Services officer by way of kicking and biting him, causing actual bodily harm at Lismore in March 2019 and assaulting a man with a pair of scissors in Mullumbimby last November, also causing him harm.
She has also been convicted of failing to appear before court when required.
At the time of the earlier offence, she was still serving a community corrections order for a September 2018 incident during which she assaulted a paramedic and police officer at Lismore Base Hospital.
This incident also involved an attack by biting, and both of those assaults drew blood.
During those incidents involving officers, the authorities were trying to stop the woman from self-harming.
The court heard the woman’s complex mental ill health was an underlying factor in her offending and one of her attempts to hurt herself was an “extreme episode”.
Defence solicitor Kate Brady said during one of the incidents, her client was “clearly very distressed” and had been “put in restrictive clothing including a helmet over (her) face”.
She told the court the woman’s behaviour was “consistent” with her “diagnosis or borderline personality disorder”.
Magistrate Karen Stafford said assaults involving biting was “very concerning” even in “pre-COVID days”.
She accepted, based on medical reports before the court, the woman had been suffering from ill mental health.
But she said it was still vital that the woman’s sentence was “a recognition of the harm done”.
Ms Stafford took into account time the woman had already spent in custody and the “quasi-custody” of a treatment facility.
She disagreed with Ms Brady’s submissions that the woman could be adequately dealt with through a further community corrections order.
Ms Stafford imposed a sentence of nine months’ prison, backdated to October 10, with a non-parole period which has already expired.
The woman is to remain on parole until July next year.
If this story has raised issues for you, the following hotlines can assist.
LIFELINE: For 24/7 support phone 13 11 14
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Suicide Call Back Service: Phone: 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line: Phone: 1800 011 511