Man could be jailed over units may­hem

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - De­clan Bush

A Mar­garet River man was told he might be jailed, af­ter plead­ing guilty to charges of as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing bod­ily harm and crim­i­nal dam­age.

On Mon­day, Christo­pher Ed­ward Bruce faced Mar­garet River Mag­is­trate’s Court over an in­ci­dent on De­cem­ber 2 last year at a Sta­tion Road unit.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Sergeant Greg Ward said Bruce ap­proached the unit at about 10pm and struck the oc­cu­pant on the nose when he an­swered the door. Sgt Ward said Bruce grabbed the vic­tim “forcibly” by the throat and the man stag­gered and fell back­ward, break­ing a glass panel.

Sgt Ward said Bruce fled the scene and later gave a no-com­ment in­ter­view to po­lice, while the vic­tim was taken to Mar­garet River Hospi­tal with soft-tis­sue dam­age and a bro­ken nose.

Bruce was also charged with crim­i­nal dam­age at a sep­a­rate Sta­tion Road unit on De­cem­ber 23 at about 10.30pm.

The court was told Bruce was known to the oc­cu­pants and threw a rock through the win­dow when he was re­fused en­try.

Le­gal Aid lawyer Ntuthuko Mcin­gol­wane re­quested a psy­chi­atric re­port and said Bruce be­lieved “things had been go­ing miss­ing from his unit” be­fore the De­cem­ber 2 as­sault.

Mr Mcin­gol­wane said Bruce “ob­served the vic­tim wear­ing his pants — pants his mother had bought him” and was “stew­ing over it for an hour”.

He said Bruce went to the other unit on De­cem­ber 23 be­cause he be­lieved chil­dren were in dan­ger, though he was un­sure why.

“He said he was go­ing to smash the win­dow with his head if he had to,” the lawyer said.

Bruce showed re­morse and re­gret for his ac­tions and had stopped us­ing metham­phetamine last year, Mr Mcin­gol­wane said. Mag­is­trate Mark Milling­ton said Bruce’s record noted “se­vere” anger man­age­ment is­sues and a “pre­dis­po­si­tion to re­sort to vi­o­lent be­hav­iour”.

Sgt Ward asked that Bruce be taken into cus­tody. “The com­mu­nity’s at risk if he’s out there how he is right now,” he said.

Mr Milling­ton said there had been grow­ing me­dia at­ten­tion and crit­i­cism of the courts for bail be­ing granted to vi­o­lent of­fend­ers and there was a 10 to 12week wait­ing pe­riod for psy­chi­atric re­ports.

“Given your record, and given the se­ri­ous­ness of these of­fences, a term of im­pris­on­ment is a live op­tion,” he said.

The case was ad­journed and bail ex­tended to May 1 for sen­tenc­ing and a psy­chi­atric re­port.

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