17 November 2021

Man allegedly 'dropped his pants' at busy Woden shopping centre, threatened security

| Albert McKnight
Zachery Norton

Zachery Norton, 27, has been charged over an alleged incident in Woden Westfield. Photo: Facebook.

In what have been called “bizarre” allegations, a man is accused of exposing himself to people at a busy shopping centre before threatening to stab security.

“He dropped his pants in front of a lot of people, allegedly,” Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter said about 27-year-old Zachery Norton on Wednesday (17 November).

She said, if proven, such an act was “a disgusting thing to do”.

Documents tendered to the ACT Magistrates Court state Norton and a woman went into Cotton On at Westfield Woden about 3:40 pm on Tuesday (16 November).

Staff said they saw him exit a change room with only one of the two items he entered with. They allege the second item was stuffed down his pants.

Security followed him and asked him to return the item, but he allegedly refused and left the shopping centre onto Bradley Street.

“The defendant then turned around and pulled down his pants, exposing his genitals to the security staff and bystanders, before heading in the direction of the taxi rank,” police said.

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Security followed him until he entered an elevator at Access Canberra, where he allegedly threatened one guard.

“Come in, I’ll slice your f-king throat,” Norton allegedly said.

Police said security decided to detain him due to the possible danger to them, and about 50 people watching nearby, and a wrestle ensued, during which a knife fell out of his bag.

Norton allegedly said he would leave, then got up and put the knife in a nearby bin but picked it up again when security asked what he was doing.

Security continued to follow him around the area until about 4:15 pm when police arrived and arrested him, reportedly finding him in possession of a Stanley knife and two grams of methamphetamine.

He was charged with indecent exposure, threatening to inflict grievous bodily harm, as well as possessing a knife without a reasonable excuse and possessing drugs.

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Benjamin Rutzou from Legal Aid said bail conditions could be that he lives in Garran with his mother and not leave the house unless with his sister, “so basically house arrest unless with his sister”.

Magistrate Hunter said as Norton was allegedly found with methamphetamine and his alleged behaviour was “quite bizarre”, she wondered if he had been consuming illicit substances at the time.

She wanted more information before deciding whether or not to grant him bail. She adjourned the matter to 22 November. Norton will be held in custody until then. He has not entered pleas.

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