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Out of control

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017

By Craig Brealey

Habitual offender needs help: lawyer


A lawyer said yesterday she was amazed that a man with a long history of criminal offences and odd behaviour had never being psychiatrically assessed.

Rachel Storey told the Local Court her client, Brendan Jones (33), was apparently schizophrenic and suffered the trauma that had resulted from his father and then his brother being murdered in Wilcannia.

Jones was also homeless, often “living on people’s couches”, and kept committing crimes that he could not remember because he was drunk or on drugs, Ms Storey said.

“To my amazement, Mr Jones has never received any psychiatric assistance whatsoever,” she said.

Jones was in court on a variety of charges which ranged from joining in a brawl at last year’s Rugby League grand final to exposing himself to police, damaging a police car and stealing from a taxi driver.

He pleaded guilty to all of the charges and to stealing his aunt’s car, smearing faeces on the dock in the police station and twice failing to appear in court.

In March, Jones was arrested and has been in jail since but had not received treatment or medication in custody, Ms Storey said.

She told the magistrate, Geoff Dunlevy, that her client realised he would be punished with jail sentences but she asked that he be given a long time on parole with supervision and treatment for his problems.

In reply, the police prosecutor, Sergeant Brad Scanlan, said that Jones’ pre-sentence report contained no evidence that he suffered from schizophrenia.

However, in passing sentence, Mr Dunlevy recommended that he undergo a psychiatric assessment, receive counselling for his “significant grief and trauma issues” and help with his drug and drink problems.

Jones was jailed for up to three months for most of the offences, but will serve five months for what Mr Dunlevy said was the most serious of them - robbing the cab driver.

According to police evidence, the driver was dropping off a fare in Creedon Street on January 1 this year when Jones walked up and put out his hand to wish the man a happy New Year.

When the driver offered his hand, Jones grabbed his bag that held $60 in takings and ran off with it.

He will be due for release at the end of August and will then have to spend two months under the supervision of the Probation and Parole Service.

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