28 March 2024

Woman allegedly stabbed in face with butter knife during fight

| Albert McKnight
ACT Magistrates Court.

The ACT Magistrates Court refused bail to 28-year-old Ebony Coffey Austen over an alleged assault. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A woman has been refused bail after she allegedly stabbed another in the face with a butter knife during a fight, leaving behind a permanent scar.

Ebony Coffey Austen, a 28-year-old from Downer, has been handed a charge of causing grievous bodily harm over the alleged attack on 10 March 2024.

It is alleged she and another woman had gotten into an argument at her home that night.

The complainant initially hit Ms Austen in the face, but then Ms Austen allegedly grabbed a butter knife from the kitchen and stabbed the complainant in her cheek.

Paramedics and police arrived to see a wound to the woman’s cheek. Shortly afterwards, Ms Austen was arrested nearby.

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When she was breath tested for alcohol, she allegedly returned a positive reading of 0.185.

Late last year, she had been granted bail on unrelated matters with a condition including that she not drink alcohol.

She applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (26 March), which was opposed by the prosecution, and the court heard a self-defence argument may be raised.

Her lawyer, Natasha Goode from Peter Agoth & Associates, said the complainant in the fight was “many times larger” than her client, whom she described as “petite”.

Ms Goode claimed the complainant had appeared at Ms Austen’s home uninvited and attacked her, while witnesses had approached police to provide statements that were consistent with her client’s version of events.

She said Ms Austen had been in custody since the incident and was a vulnerable person who needed to go back home to obtain her regular support.

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But Magistrate Robert Cook said despite her bail conditions, she still used alcohol that night.

He also said while the allegations did say the complainant hit Ms Austen first, she had then responded excessively, grabbing a knife and stabbing her alleged victim.

The magistrate said the complainant had a significant injury to her cheek, which would leave a permanent scar.

He refused bail, remanded her in custody and adjourned the matter to 5 April.

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