Man on pa­role when he raped

At­tacker likely delu­sional and high on ice

The Northern Star - - NEWS - Hamish Broome hamish.broome@north­ern­star.com.au

A DRUG ad­dicted Nim­bin man was on pa­role for as­sault­ing his for­mer part­ner when he raped a 29-year-old woman on Bal­lina’s An­gels Beach last July, the Lis­more Dis­trict Court has heard.

Michael Allen Jef­freys had punched his then part­ner in the nose when she asked for a cig­a­rette in Au­gust 2015.

He was later sen­tenced to a min­i­mum six months in prison for as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm and re­leased on pa­role on March 31.

Three months later, he raped a stranger on a beach in broad day­light.

Jef­freys is fac­ing sen­tenc­ing in the Dis­trict Court over the shock­ing ran­dom sex­ual as­sault which oc­curred just af­ter 10am on the Sun­day morn­ing of July 3 last year.

Dur­ing sen­tenc­ing sub­mis­sions yes­ter­day the court heard that Jef­freys likely suf­fered from a drug in­duced psy­chotic dis­or­der and schizophre­nia and there was ev­i­dence he fre­quently ex­pe­ri­enced “bizarre delu­sions”. He was also likely high on the ice at the time of the of­fence.

Jus­tice De­part­ment psy­chi­a­trist Dr Kerri Ea­gle told the court that Jef­freys’ think­ing was im­paired by his drug af­fected state, which caused him to “mis­in­ter­pret his en­vi­ron­ment and pos­si­bly ex­pe­ri­ence a delu­sion”.

Dr Ea­gle, who ap­peared via video link, had as­sessed Jef­freys some three months af­ter the rape.

She said it was likely Jef­freys had a “chronic un­der­ly­ing men­tal ill­ness” which in­cluded “delu­sions of peo­ple har­vest­ing his or­gans, and im­pos­tors… char­ac­ter­is­tic of schizophre­nia”.

Along­side drug ad­dic­tion and men­tal ill­ness the of­fender had poor judge­ment, poor so­cial skills and prob­lem-solv­ing abil­i­ties.

“He de­nied he had an ill­ness when it was clear to me he may have had an ill­ness,” she said. “He wasn’t nec­es­sary even ca­pa­ble of fak­ing re­morse or shame… he did feel dis­tressed and upset over what hap­pened.”

Dr Ea­gle said there was “ab­so­lutely no doubt” that Jef­freys’ likely jail sen­tence would not sup­port his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

How­ever Judge Laura Wells noted that Jef­freys was on pa­role at the time the rape and said “lit­tle has changed” with re­gard to his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Af­ter a lengthy le­gal process Jef­freys will be sen­tenced next Wed­nes­day.

CRIME SCENE: An­gels Beach at Bal­lina where a rape took place in 2016.

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