[First filed: August 03, 2009 @ 14:45]
The Supreme Court has published Chief Justice Higgins thoughts on the trial of Alice Coath who used a syringe to rob a Mr Scott Murray and Ms Bajwa of $20 they’d just taken out of an ATM in Civic.
(It’s always a delight to see the language of the street quoted amongst judicial niceties.)
- 32. In essence, it seems to me, that she did demand money. Whether it was Ms Bajwa or Mr Murray, as she thought it was, who handed her the money, I am satisfied it was Ms Bajwa and that the $20 was handed over in response to a perceived threat of attack with a syringe.
33. That makes out the actus reus of the charge of aggravated robbery. That, of course, does not dispose of the matter as it is quite clear from Dr Thompson’s report that Ms Coath was in no fit state either to recollect accurately what had happened or to have formulated the intention of doing that which the law forbid.
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34. In other words she was not in a fit state to have the mens rea, as we would put it, for the commission for the offence, that is, to act both deliberately and intentionally with an understanding of the consequences of what she was doing. Quite clearly she was not. That inability arises from the mental impairment which Dr Thompson has so fully described in her report.
35. In consequence I enter a verdict of not guilty on the ground of mental impairment.
38. I consider therefore it to be a reasonable option for her to be released into the community. That option is open, and it is a more appropriate one. I direct that the accused submit to the jurisdiction of the Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal, to enable that body to make a mental health order.
It appears the trick is to get wasted before attempting to commit robberies.
UPDATED: Scott has kindly left his thoughts in the comments which I thought were worthy of the front page:
- #24 posted by scottie_517
22:30, 3 Aug 2009
I am Scott Murray. This is just wrong. That’s all i have to say. Oh, by the way, thanks for calling me, director of public prosecutions, to let me know the outcome of the trial as promised.
After being dragged over hot coals by Alice’s defence attorney (I was accused of taking drugs and trying to lie to the police to manipulate them!!!!), as well as having over a three year wait for any result – I can’t believe this.
Not only during the course of the case was she let off on bail a day or two after committing the offence, we (Deb and I) were accidentally summonsed to her bail hearing! (Take a fresh look at us before you get out Alice.
It’s funny the false dialogue that someone wrote about a conversation between Alice and Higgins. It kind of went like that while I was waiting to give testimony. She’s obviously in there (the courts) a fair bit, because all of the custodial officers were giving her hugs in front of Deb and I and asking her how she was going (on a first name basis).
Thanks legal system – my faith in justice is restored.