Knife at­tack re­counted

Court hears of in­ci­dent out­side child­care cen­tre

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS - LIANA TURNER [email protected]­ern­

A WOMAN ac­cused of chas­ing her vic­tim down the street with a large knife may have her mat­ter dealt with un­der the Men­tal Health Act.

Joanne O’Neill, 47, was ex­tremely po­lite to Mag­is­trate Ge­off Dun­levy when she was brought on to the video link screen at By­ron Bay Lo­cal Court from Syd­ney’s Sil­ver­wa­ter jail on Fri­day morn­ing.

But the charges against the woman from Bo­maderry in the Shoal­haven area paint a pic­ture of a woman haunted by delu­sions as she al­legedly ter­rorised a 20-year-old woman in broad day­light.

The al­leged in­ci­dent took place as par­ents were pick­ing up their chil­dren from a child­care cen­tre near the cor­ner of Ban­ga­low Rd and Black­butt Place in By­ron Bay on Sep­tem­ber 12 last year.

Po­lice have al­leged the woman, who has had a schizoid per­son­al­ity dis­or­der for many years, be­gan re­peat­edly scream­ing at the vic­tim that she would kill her and lunged at her with a knife.

The woman was re­strained by the pub­lic un­til po­lice ar­rived.

The de­fen­dant’s so­lic­i­tor, Katharine Brody, told the court they hoped to have the mat­ter dealt with un­der the Men­tal Health Act, to di­vert the woman to treat­ment.

Ms Brody in­di­cated the woman would oth­er­wise plead not guilty to her charges of be­ing armed with in­tent to cause griev­ous bod­ily harm, com­mon as­sault, cus­tody of a knife in a pub­lic place, wield­ing a knife in a pub­lic place and af­fray.

Pend­ing the Men­tal Health Act ap­pli­ca­tion, she had lodged no for­mal pleas.

The court heard the woman claimed a “spirit an­gel told her to do it” and that she be­lieved the vic­tim had slept with her boyfriend.

Ms Brody said the woman had not pur­chased the knife, and oth­ers found in her car, with the in­tent to cause any­one harm.

She said the woman was “sta­bilised and com­pli­ant with med­i­ca­tion” since be­ing taken into cus­tody in Sep­tem­ber.

Mag­is­trate Ge­off Dun­levy said the woman had no crim­i­nal his­tory in NSW and only a “rel­a­tively mi­nor”, un­re­lated his­tory from Vic­to­ria.

The mat­ter re­turns to court next month.

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