ACT News

Drugs, hunger and a 'bizarre attack' behind New Year's Day arrests in Canberra

A Queensland man was fined $50 for drug possession on Tuesday after police found him passed out on the ground in Civic.

Officers had first tried to wake the man, who they had come across early on New Year's Day, the ACT Magistrates Court heard.

But he was heavily intoxicated.

He collapsed twice on trying to stand, and was unable to get to into a taxi.

Police took him into protective custody.

He told police that he had drugs on him, and on searching him officers found he had green vegetable matter in a plastic bag.

He was arrested, but he refused to sign the police bail conditions.

He appeared before a magistrate on Tuesday morning.

His Legal Aid duty lawyer told the court the man used cannabis for medicinal purposes.

He said the man instructed that he was on a waiting list in Queensland to get legal access to the drug. The man had also said that access cost $16,000 per year.

"In the meantime, cannabis is illegal here in the ACT," Magistrate Karen Fryar said.

She told the man it was dangerous to fall asleep on the ground in the city.

"It was stupid," the man agreed.

He pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday, and was fined $50 for drug possession.

The fine came with a warning from Ms Fryar, who said that if that man had "any sense of self-preservation, you need some treatment."

Another man was arrested and brought before court on a charge of trespass at Westfield Belconnen.

The Legal Aid duty lawyer told the court the man had gone to the shopping centre looking for food because he was hungry.

The man stood up and addressed the magistrate himself, saying, "I specifically went there to steal food."

He said he knew it was wrong but had been unable to access food from his normal services, who he said were shut down over the holiday.

Ms Fryar granted the man bail with instructions to see corrective services and mental health services, and for him to tell them about his problem.

"Thank you very much your Honour," he said.

A Griffith man was bailed after he was arrested for property damage on Tuesday morning.

He had also allegedly resisted a police officer, and the court heard police had to break down his door to get inside.

He was ordered not to approach, threaten, harass or intimidate the man whose home he had allegedly damaged.

Another man allegedly launched what prosecutors called a "bizarre attack" on his partner's father.

The court heard the man had been at a family barbecue when he left, and allegedly later returned and "savagely beat" two people.

Prosecutors sought an order that he not go near the family home nor contact any of the family members.

But the solicitor said that would be difficult because of the relationship between the man and his partner, and that the allegations were not against the partner.

The magistrate observed, "if he's behaving bizarrely he poses a risk to the community," she said.

But the defence disagreed with the prosecution's assessment of the man's behaviour.

The man was given bail on condition he not go near the family home or any of the family members, and only approach his partner with her express permission.

A woman was brought into court and then let go with a warning about breaching reporting conditions.

She had failed to report to police on Christmas Day, but was arrested after reporting on New Year's Day.

The holiday period bail court is open every morning except Sunday, until the ACT Magistrates Court resumes full time business next Wednesday.