Spent conviction for damage offence

A Collie woman has been granted a spent conviction in the Collie Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to throwing glass bottles at another car in an incident at Minninup Pool in December last year.

The woman appeared before the court on Wednesday, August 22 where she was handed a $200 fine and ordered to pay compensation of $2236.31 after pleading guilty to one charge of damaging property in May.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Greg Ward told the court the woman had been with her partner at Minninup Pool at approximately 10.30pm on December 15, 2017 when she got into an altercation with the occupants of another car.

Sergeant Ward said the situation had escalated and the woman had ended up throwing three Jack Daniels bottles at the other vehicle, causing the windscreen to crack and other damage to the side of the car, before the vehicle was able to flee.

The woman had later told police who responded to the incident that she had been “really drunk” and “didn’t know why [she] did it”.

The woman’s lawyer Derek Hunter told the court she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia eight months before the incident.

He said it had been her first time drinking since the diagnosis and that the woman had not taken her medication in order to not mix it with alcohol.

As a result, he said the woman had ‘heard voices saying mean things’ about her and her partner and had mistakenly believed that it was the occupants of the other vehicle.

Mr Hunter said she had then thrown the bottles at the vehicle to make them stop.

The woman had previously entered an endorsed plea of guilty to the charge in April, however Magistrate Evan Shackleton said at the time he felt the offending was too serious to be dealt with in her absence. 

The woman was then ordered by Mr Shackleton to undertake a pre-sentence opportunity program at her next appearance in May before returning for sentencing this month.

Mr Shackleton said in making the decision to award a spent conviction he had considered that the woman had done well on the pre-sentence opportunity program and that she had no previous instances of violent offending in her record.

He said the woman had been convicted previously of drug-related offences, including one spent conviction in January 2016, but that he was convinced the woman was of good character and wouldn’t commit another similar offence.

In addition to the spent conviction, Mr Shackleton imposed a $200 fine, along with court costs.

The woman was also ordered to pay the victim $2236.81 in compensation for the damage done to the vehicle.