21 April 2022

UPDATED: No bail for man who barricaded himself in Oaks Estate home

| Claire Fenwicke
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Police car

Police negotiated with a man who claimed he had a chainsaw for several hours in Oaks Estate. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATE 4 pm – An Oaks Estate man has been remanded in custody after having a mental health assessment application denied in ACT Magistrates Court.

Ashley Horbanowicz appeared via video link in court today (21 April), accused of having a javelin as an offensive weapon and using it to wound another person.

He did not enter a plea to any charges.

His defence lawyer Stephanie Corish argued Mr Horbanowicz should be granted a court order to undergo an urgent mental health assessment at a mental health facility, with it believed his alleged offending occurred while he was in a “drug-induced psychosis”.

“Police declined to interview Mr Horbanowicz [upon his arrest] because of concerns over his mental state,” she said.

“It is common for people accused of violent offending to be sent to hospital [under mental health orders].”

Prosecutor Julia Churchill disagreed, as she was concerned Mr Horbanowicz would be in an “insecure facility” and there was a “high risk” concern he could endanger others at the site.

“The prosecution has concerns, noting on the statement of facts, it seems the defendant is experiencing a high level of violent manifestations based on items found in his property,” she said.

Those items allegedly found have not been disclosed.

Mr Horbanowicz was examined by medical staff at Canberra Hospital’s emergency department last night for physical injuries, where it was recommended he undergo a mental health assessment.

He was then examined by a mental health nurse this morning, who determined in her report Mr Horbanowicz showed “no evidence of acute psychosis, major mood disorders or suicide ideation”.

It was not her view Mr Horbanowicz needed immediate mental health care, but did recommend a follow-up mental health assessment in the future.

However Ms Cornish argued this assessment of Mr Horbanowicz occurred “quickly and briefly” in less than ideal circumstances in the court cells.

Based on these arguments, Magistrate Ken Archer said while he held concerns about Mr Horbanowicz’s alleged behaviour, which he described as “very extreme”, he could not grant the mental health assessment application.

“I accept his alleged behaviour caused great concern in the minds of the police officers there [yesterday],” Magistrate Archer said.

“It is my view, in the face of expert evidence, he does not need immediate care because of a mental impairment, and I cannot reach the conclusion that he needs urgent care or to go to an approved mental health facility.

“If his condition worsens, obviously there are applications that can be made to have new orders to transfer him to an appropriate mental health facility.”

After the mental health application was refused, Mr Horbanowicz did not apply for bail.

He is due to return to court on 12 May.

9:50 am – A man will face the ACT Magistrates Court today (21 April) on charges of intentionally wounding and possessing an offensive weapon with intent following an incident in Oaks Estate.

At about 12:50 pm on Wednesday (20 April), police received reports of an altercation on George Street.

When officers responded, they said a man had barricaded himself inside his home, stating he had a chainsaw.

AFP negotiators, ACT Fire and Rescue and ACT Ambulance Services personnel attended.

Negotiations went for several hours, during which the man refused to leave his home.

Shortly before 8 pm that evening, police forced entry and took the man into custody.

He was taken to hospital for assessment.


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