Man jailed for stab­bing

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - GREG DUNDAS

“Only by good for­tune the vic­tim’s life was saved.”

JUDGE I RENE LAW­SON

A NORLANE man got a fiveyear jail sen­tence yes­ter­day for stab­bing his neigh­bour from be­hind af­ter knock­ing on the man’s door at 2.30am.

Gee­long County Court heard Mark O’Toole com­mit­ted the crime on Novem­ber 25, 2016, while strug­gling to man­age his schizophre­nia and voices in his head, and shortly af­ter be­ing re­leased from jail.

Judge Irene Law­son said the at­tacker was con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous, vi­o­lent of­fender, and had a long crim­i­nal his­tory — in­clud­ing 32 court ap­pear­ances — that counted against him.

O’Toole, 42, pleaded guilty last week to a count of in­ten­tion­ally caus­ing se­ri­ous in­jury, ad­mit­ting he went to the vic­tim’s house in the mid­dle of the night and stabbed him three times af­ter be­ing let in­side.

“(It was) an un­pro­voked, sav­age at­tack on your friend and neigh­bour in his own home, and in the pres­ence of his part­ner,” Ms Law­son said.

The vic­tim did not re­port the mat­ter to po­lice, nor did he seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion for his in­juries un­til 6am, when he was rushed to Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Gee­long.

The court heard by that time his life was in peril.

Stabbed in the kid­ney, neck and chest, the vic­tim was put into an in­duced coma for three days as sur­geons cut open his ster­num and rib cage to re­pair the dam­age caused by a stab wound that had en­tered his heart.

“Only by good for­tune, the vic­tim’s life was saved,” Ms Law­son said.

The judge noted O’Toole had made ma­jor progress dur­ing the 446 days he has al­ready spent in jail af­ter his ar­rest, and was now bet­ter at man­ag­ing his men­tal health.

She said those health is­sues re­duced his moral cul­pa­bil­ity for the crimes, and she was “rel­a­tively op­ti­mistic” about his prospects of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion if he kept off drugs and fol­lowed the men­tal health ad­vice he’d been given.

How­ever, Ms Law­son also said the need for her sen­tence to pro­vide pro­tec­tion for the com­mu­nity loomed large.

She sen­tenced O’Toole to a five-year jail term, with non­pa­role pe­riod of three years and nine months.

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