Sometimes reality is far funnier than fiction...
IN THE DISTRICT COURT
THURSDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2014 AT 2.10 P.M.
BEFORE HIS HONOUR JUDGE STRETTON
NOS.DCCRM-13-2431 & 13-2432
R v DONALD ROY LONSDALE
HIS HONOUR IN SENTENCING SAID:
Donald Roy Lonsdale, you have pleaded guilty to a bizarre but dangerous crime. To understand your actions it is necessary to go back some years as it seems your actions were the culmination of years of building anger and frustration which had their genesis over a decade ago. None of that is an excuse for what you did but it explains why you did what you did.
Some time around early 2002 you suffered an injury at work and made a WorkCover claim. As is usually the case you were referred to various medical practitioners for assessment. As the year progressed you were referred to a psychiatrist Dr Jules Begg who interviewed you on three occasions in the latter part of that year. In recent times when I have been dealing with your matter I ordered psychiatric reports and apparently they referred you to him and you declined to meet with him because of the history of seeing him back in 2002.
He did, however, make some brief comments, and provide his old report from back then. Because I have ordered that and it has been provided to me I take it into account, but I also take into account your comments about it and your attitude to the matters he discusses and raises.
Dr Begg recounted how you perceived, during the course of that year, that is back in early 2002, that you had been given conflicting and changing advice about whether you would need time off and whether you could return to work. Dr Begg thought you perceived the attitude of WorkCover in sending these inconsistent messages as a rejection of your suffering.
PRISONER: Yeah, he’s wrong.
HIS HONOUR: He thought it led to a profound change to your self image, affect, cognition and behaviour and that you started to suffer intense and inappropriate anger when faced with the sudden changes in plans by WorkCover to you. Dr Begg diagnosed you with a borderline personality disorder. He said -
PRISONER: He’s incorrect.
HIS HONOUR: He said one of the effects of this in you is that relationships can start with unrealistic idealisation, but when that ideal outcome is ultimately not forthcoming it can result in intense anger on your part. In other words, you can form high expectations of help from people which, if not forthcoming, turn to serious anger.
Dr Begg also said that emotional instability was present, meaning you can become very angry and upset about things very quickly. He also thought that you had become depressed since your accident and that you also had intense feelings of being uncared for and rejected.
As the years progressed you became more angry and frustrated with WorkCover. You say that in 2007 you would not take the money WorkCover was offering presumably because you assessed it as insufficient and you would not leave and that is when you perceive they started lying about you and making up allegations about you.
PRISONER: No, wrong again your Honour, wrong again.
HIS HONOUR: You have told me that in 2007 and 2008 in that context someone alleged you had made threats in relation to at least one WorkCover attendance -
PRISONER: That’s -
HIS HONOUR: - and you were committed for at least one period of time to a secure psychiatric unit. You also believe you were injured when police attended and took you into custody for that admission and you say -
PRISONER: That’s correct.
HIS HONOUR: - you say you still suffer from those injuries.
HIS HONOUR: On the basis of what had been alleged about your behaviour and in particular the threat others claimed you made, police investigated your alleged behaviour. You complained in various ways about the police investigation but no action was taken about your complaint.
On 8 January 2010 you decided to attend the police station to discuss events and got into an argument with the investigating officer and her supervisor there. You -
PRISONER: Wrong again your Honour. CIB staff member Matthew Thompson elbowed me in the face and that’s what occurred. I didn’t get in any argument.
HIS HONOUR: Wait, I am coming to that, just wait. You say the police admitted they knew you had not made the threat that you had been alleged to have made. The argument became heated and you say the police then assaulted you after you informed the officer that you intended to place her under citizen’s arrest and take her to the Anti-Corruption Branch to account for her actions. You were charged with assaulting police. The charge was heard before Magistrate Snopek who delivered a written judgment on 28 April 2011 which recounts the history of what occurred between you and the police between 2007 and 2010 over their investigation of you. Ultimately Magistrate Snopek convicted you of assaulting police.
PRISONER: And he’s wrong.
HIS HONOUR: I refer to it without repeating all contained in the reasons. You were very upset about that conviction and you still are. You believe that you were not guilty. You believe that the police, in fact, assaulted you. As a result -
PRISONER: CIB staff member Matthew Thompson elbowing me in the face is not me being guilty of assaulting a police officer.
HIS HONOUR: I just indicated that is your firm belief. As a result -
PRISONER: Or not my belief.
HIS HONOUR: Will you be quiet Mr Lonsdale. I have to proceed with the process of telling you why I am doing what I am doing. That is all I am doing.
As a result you wanted to appeal that conviction and you sought assistance from the Legal Services Commission to do so. Unfortunately, your request for assistance was rejected by the commission as -
PRISONER: That’s bullshit because my -
HIS HONOUR: Be quiet.
PRISONER: My documentation never went to the commission. It was withheld.
HIS HONOUR: Very well.
PRISONER: She doesn’t have the authority to make a decision on her own.
HIS HONOUR: Just pause there please, Mr Lonsdale. This is not a discussion we are having, this is me delivering -
PRISONER: Well, don’t lie.
HIS HONOUR: I’m not lying.
PRISONER: You are lying, the commission -
HIS HONOUR: - for assistance was rejected by the commission, as were your approaches to various other government offices and agencies.
PRISONER: It wasn’t -
HIS HONOUR: You became increasingly frustrated and upset, which I note you are doing now as well.
PRISONER: Yes, because you’re lying.
HIS HONOUR: That is the reason you attended the Legal Services Commission on 10 August 2011 and committed the offending which is before the court today. When you first attended the Legal Services Commission on that day it seems you were in possession of a letter from the commission declining to assist you. The declarations reveal you initially stated you wished to make a citizen’s arrest of the officer who had refused your help and after further comments and discussion you left, returning some 45 minutes later.
You had obtained a can of petrol and oil, two-stroke fuel, in other words, and you returned with it. You obtained two-stroke as you believed the oil in it would make the fire less intense. You say you wanted to make a statement rather than cause extensive damage. You say you again demanded that the commission reinstate their representation of you and when agreement to that proposition was not forthcoming you warned staff to stand back, poured out the fuel and set it alight.
In the end the fire was not extensive and was extinguished shortly after, the total cost of repairs being approximately $4000.
Your actions were frightening, inappropriate and extremely dangerous. After doing what you did you attended the Royal Adelaide Hospital and requested treatment. Police attended there and arrested you later that day.
Hospital records show that in 2008 and 2009 respectively you had had some homicidal thoughts concerning your WorkCover case manager and at another time you felt you wanted to burn down the Police Complaints Authority. To your credit -
PRISONER: Your Honour, you’ve been provided with false information. The information that states I had had homicidal thoughts was fraud provided to the hospital by the police.
HIS HONOUR: To your credit, however, on those occasions you presented yourself to the RAH for treatment, you sought treatment at the hospital rather than pursue either of those thoughts or proposed actions.
PRISONER: No, wrong; I went to the hospital to try and get the stitches out of my face, not for psychiatric care.
HIS HONOUR: I merely am going on the hospital records you agreed I could have regard to. That is what they show.
PRISONER: They’re wrong.
HIS HONOUR: As mentioned, you were arrested and remanded in custody on the day of the offence, that is 10 August 2011, where you have been ever since. I was informed by the pre-sentence report that as a remand prisoner, regrettably you were not referred to any programs within the prison and have not participated in any psychological intervention. I propose to give you credit for the majority of the time that you have spent in prison, not all of it, because no doubt some aspects of your non-release were likely due to your attitude and approach that you still have today, of anger, frustration and making threats occasionally to those you believe have done you wrong so that has, in part, been a reason for your incarceration.
PRISONER: Don’t you think a good idea would be to provide me with the medical care required to repair the injuries sustained as a result of being assaulted by the police officers which will cease my complaining?
HIS HONOUR: I think that is a good idea and I hope that is occurring if and when you are diagnosed for the injuries that you mention. In any event, moving back -
PRISONER: That’s what I want you to do.
HIS HONOUR: I have no power to order that.
PRISONER: You leave me no other alternative but to take further action.
HIS HONOUR: I propose to give you credit for nearly all the time you spent in custody.
On 23 September 2013 in the Adelaide Magistrates Court you pleaded guilty to the offence of damaging property by fire, contrary to s.85 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act. You were remanded here for sentence. Your offence also breaches the bond you were placed on by Magistrate Snopek -
PRISONER: It’s illegal.
HIS HONOUR: - you admitted that breach and the matter was also referred here. I turn to your personal circumstances.
You told the court you are now aged 41. You told the court you reached year nine in high school but were more interested in mechanics so left school. You initially got a job with a friend working on cars and then had a number of jobs over the years with a good work history until about the age of 30. At that stage you had a job assembling furniture and it is there, when you were working at that job, that you ruptured a disc in your back and tore the tendons in your shoulder, giving rise to the WorkCover claim which sits at the root of your escalating conflict and trouble over the last 10 years.
You say you have been pretty much a loner but you had one relationship for six or seven years. You have no children.
You dismissed the lawyers representing you and the court has tried to do what it could to investigate the appropriate way to resolve your case. I ordered a pre-sentence report and, with your agreement, a psychiatric report. Unfortunately, the documentation provided by the corrections officer and the psychiatrists who attended to see you revealed you refused to cooperate with either of them. You terminated the interview with the corrections officer after about 15 minutes and almost immediately with the psychiatrist, Mr Begg, when you ascertained he had prepared the 2002 report to which I referred earlier.
I do understand your attitude to Mr Begg, given that you see him as part of the cause of many of your misdiagnoses or non-diagnoses over time.
As I ordered these reports in these proceedings to help the court understand your history and situation, I have copied them to you and had regard to them. I have, however, heard your response to them and taken your views about them into account.
The court asked you about your plans for future. You told the court you might leave the country and never come back. You are not optimistic about future work opportunities in light of your injuries. You are angry about not getting appropriate medical care and you are concerned you are getting worse and that you are a potential danger to the community.
Indeed, regrettably you have made a range of threats during the period of this sentencing process. When you spoke to the pre-sentence report writer on 30 January you threatened to set fire to the court. On 7 February -
PRISONER: I didn’t -
HIS HONOUR: On 7 February in submissions you made a range of threats to all concerned if you were released from custody without the further medical care you believe you should have.
Apart from the matters to which I have referred, you have only minor past offending. The pre-sentence report indicates you didn’t respond well to supervision in the past. You indicate an unwillingness to participate in the future. I wish that would change, Mr Lonsdale. I wish you would try to get help from the psychologists and psychiatrists as well as the medical help you seek. That might well help you deal with the anger and frustration that you feel.
Often when a person has a psychological disorder they don’t perceive it themselves and they need help, even though they do not believe they have that condition, and that might be the case with you.
PRISONER: You’re wrong. Jules Begg doesn’t have the authority to overrule a professor of psychiatry by the name of Jules Begg using false WorkCover reports in which to do it. That’s why I have this torn disc in my back. I’ve had it for 10 years.
HIS HONOUR: Your case presents an acute sentencing dilemma. You have now spent at least the actual time in custody that the court would ordinarily have sentenced you to serve for this crime, had you shown the normal contrition and motivation to not reoffend that the court ordinarily expects accused persons who have admitted their guilt to exhibit. On the other hand you, although to your credit you admitted your guilt, seem unrepentant.
PRISONER: Why should I be?
HIS HONOUR: You should look to yourself and the future Mr Lonsdale to try and get your life on track. On the other hand -
PRISONER: How can you do that? You’ve seen I’ve been bashed and have been arrested for assaulting them.
HIS HONOUR: You threaten a repeat of your behaviour if you do not get the treatment you believe you should have, and you harbour strong beliefs many have conspired and continue to conspire against you.
You may well need ongoing treatment for the physical pain you told me you continue to suffer as a result of injury. The court does not have enough medical information to independently assess that, however I do -
PRISONER: Jennifer Rankine could give it to you.
HIS HONOUR: - I do accept you do genuinely believe you do need it.
In the court’s opinion, despite your firm opinion to the contrary, you likely do have a personality disorder which in turn is likely responsible for the intense anger and frustration you feel, and as such -
PRISONER: No, wrong.
HIS HONOUR: - is at the root -
PRISONER: Corrupt. Magistrate concealing - the prosecution, resulting in permanent personal injury is the problem.
HIS HONOUR: - and as such this is at the root of your threats and outbursts. You need -
HIS HONOUR: Listen to me please. Please Mr Lonsdale.
PRISONER: Why should I?
HIS HONOUR: Because I am here dealing with -
PRISONER: If you speak the truth then I’ll listen to you.
HIS HONOUR: - you need intense ongoing assistance for your condition by way of counselling and psychological intervention yet you seem resistant to efforts to assess you, assist you or supervise you. All the court can do, Mr Lonsdale, is strongly encourage you to seek that psychological and counselling assistance and embrace it if it is offered or available.
The court must consider today the breach of bond imposed by Magistrate Snopek, and if breached, sentence you for that together with the offence of setting fire to the Legal Services Commission counter.
The aim must be to impose a sentence which reflects the seriousness of your crimes and the potential danger that regrettably you remain to the public, yet that encourages you to get and accept help for your problems and not offend in the future.
Your conduct in setting fire to the Legal Services Commission counter plainly breaches your bond to be of good behaviour imposed by the magistrate for your actions assaulting police. The breach is neither trivial -
PRISONER: I did not assault the police officer, stop lying.
HIS HONOUR: I have to accept the ruling of another court on that. The breach is neither -
PRISONER: It’s not physically possible for me to grab Officer Thompson around the neck given my shoulder deformity. That is what I was convicted of.
HIS HONOUR: The breach is neither trivial nor are there grounds to excuse the breach. The court, as I said -
PRISONER: Yes there is because -
HIS HONOUR: The court is legally -
PRISONER: It’s not physically possible for me to do.
HIS HONOUR: The court is legally required to accept the facts as found by Magistrate Snopek -
PRISONER: Magistrate Snopek is wrong and the Attorney-General’s office is concealing contempt of court.
HIS HONOUR: Those facts appear at para.106 onwards in the magistrate’s judgment. The judgment indicates that after a long period of escalating threats to police you attended the police station to effect a citizen’s arrest on the officer who had been investigating your earlier matter. As you remonstrated with the police at the police station you grabbed or lunged towards one of them.
PRISONER: No, I didn’t Matthew Thompson elbowed me in the face. Do not repeat Magistrate Snopek, I’ll report you to the Attorney-General’s office, you leave me no choice.
HIS HONOUR: Magistrate Snopek found that they grabbed you and after a struggle you were propelled onto a bench and onto the ground with four officers on top of you.
PRISONER: What happened is CIB staff member Matthew Thompson elbowed me in the face. The stitches are still in there.
HIS HONOUR: You were injured and your lip bled profusely as a result.
PRISONER: How is that assaulting a police officer?
HIS HONOUR: You gave evidence that you did indeed move towards a police officer to place him under citizen’s arrest -
PRISONER: No, I didn’t.
HIS HONOUR: You gave evidence in that court to that effect.
PRISONER: No I didn’t.
HIS HONOUR: You said you were then elbowed in the face and assaulted.
PRISONER: That’s right.
HIS HONOUR: However Magistrate Snopek did not accept that.
PRISONER: That’s right. He’s wrong.
HIS HONOUR: I take into account however your history, the circumstances leading up to what you did and the personality disorder you have, which no doubt contributed -
PRISONER: I don’t have a personality disorder you dickhead.
HIS HONOUR: I also take into account that you were injured and bled in the course of your arrest, although there is insufficient material before this court to say to what extent. I do take into account you have told me you had stitches and that they were there for a long time.
PRISONER: They’re still there.
HIS HONOUR: Very well I take that into account. Having said that your, as it were, aggressive uncompromising -
PRISONER: My actions were not aggressive, they were justified. Speak to the staff member - Matthew Thompson doesn’t have the authority to conceal criminal behaviour he -
HIS HONOUR: There was no objective basis to justify a citizen’s arrest in that circumstance.
PRISONER: There was no basis for elbowing me in the face either.
HIS HONOUR: If you had been concerned police actions were inappropriate or illegal there are proper lawful channels.
PRISONER: I did that through Anthony Wainwright and through the Police Complaints Authority then went to Michael Wright’s office, the police minister’s office, and they did nothing. I went to Federal Senator Paul Simon’s office, when they contacted Michael Wright’s office they produced documentation in relation to the case, when they produced nothing.
HIS HONOUR: Mr Lonsdale, you have already told me this. I have taken all of this into account but as your constant interjections show you remain unrepentant about your conduct on that day.
PRISONER: What should I be repentant for? Elbowing in the face and someone concealing. Coppers assault people -
HIS HONOUR: For the offence of aggravated assault police and two counts of resist police -
PRISONER: I’m not guilty.
HIS HONOUR: I am required, legally required to sentence you and the sentence will be three months imprisonment.
Regrettably your actions in that case display a similar attitude to the State’s institutions with whom you dealt as is revealed in this case.
PRISONER: I’ll take further action until such time as that decision’s overturned.
HIS HONOUR: Mr Lonsdale you are able to appeal yourself, you don’t need a lawyer to do it. That’s the case -
PRISONER: I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know how to appeal a case.
HIS HONOUR: The offence of setting fire to the Legal Services Commission counter is very serious. The maximum -
PRISONER: My oath it is.
HIS HONOUR: The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
PRISONER: You said ten years.
HIS HONOUR: What you did could have had catastrophic consequences -
HIS HONOUR: - and potentially endangered many lives. The sentence of the court is three years reduced from three years and six months on account of your plea of guilty. Those sentences will be cumulative resulting in a total period of three years three months imprisonment.
I consider in the unique circumstances of your case it is important that you have support and supervision upon your release and that you be given the strongest incentive possible to address your behavioural problems, that is your anger and your frustration, to reduce those levels of anger and frustration to assist both you and reduce risk to the community. For that -
PRISONER: Okay when they take the stitches out of my face I’ll be as calm as you like, until such time as there’s stitches in my face, you’ve got yourself a fucking war.
HIS HONOUR: For that reason there will be a two year non-parole period giving a potential 15 months of parole release available to you.
PRISONER: I will not go, ever.
HIS HONOUR: I am going to take -
PRISONER: I will not attend the first appointment, ever.
HIS HONOUR: I am going to take the unusual course of ordering the sentence commence exactly two years ago. Since you have a two year non-parole period that means your non-parole period expires now. That gives you credit for the majority of your time in custody to date, but not all of it, given that your attitude is no doubt a big reason why you are still in there.
What that means Mr Lonsdale is that from today you can apply for release on parole. In fact -
PRISONER: I won’t be. If I get out I’ll be going to the service station and the Legal Services Commission.
HIS HONOUR: If you change your attitude and work with the Parole Board and convince them you are safe to release you may be released in the not too distant future, however, if you don’t you might serve the remainder.
PRISONER: I won’t be contacting the Parole Board at all. What I’ll be doing is contacting the Attorney-General’s office in relation to you and the prosecution and I don’t know the staff members on the floor to prove it.
HIS HONOUR: Mr Lonsdale, with these constant outbursts, many judges would have had you gagged early on in these sentencing remarks.
PRISONER: You should have done it.
HIS HONOUR: I’m not doing that because I believe I should treat you fairly and squarely.
PRISONER: You shouldn’t lie to me. You shouldn’t lie to the court. If you haven’t got the guts to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, don’t say anything, right. Don’t say nothing. Can’t tell the truth, don’t say anything. Point one, I’m not guilty of assaulting Officer Thompson -
HIS HONOUR: Don’t repeat all this. Don’t repeat all this.
PRISONER: Why not?
HIS HONOUR: There is no point repeating it to me. You have a 15 month potential parole period starting today. If you wish to do so either today or when you’ve thought about it more calmly you can immediately apply for parole and if you work with the Parole Board you may be released in the relatively near future. I strongly encourage you to do that and I strongly encourage you to get help for the anger and frustration you feel. That concludes this matter.
PRISONER: This is what’s going to happen. I’ll do the full whack. After I get out I go to the petrol station then I go back to the Legal Services Commission. The stitches are still in my face and you’re telling me it’s lawful behaviour to Sue Brebner and perjury on Turrini, and it’s not.
HIS HONOUR: I told you repeatedly in submissions over the last month you must not make threats. Any further threats you make may constitute further offences. Be quiet. Be quiet. I’m trying to help you. It’s quite possible -
PRISONER: No you’re not.
HIS HONOUR: Every further threat you make might be taken and acted upon by the DPP and police. You could be charged with further offending. They would be quite within their rights to do so. You’re making matters worse for yourself.
I’m going to now conclude this hearing, disconnect the video and adjourn the court unless you have anything further to say Madam Crown on behalf of the DPP.
MS AMOS: There are a couple of things. There was a request for an intervention order by the two witnesses Brebner and also Elizabeth Turrini. I’m wondering if your Honour had considered that issue.
HIS HONOUR: I hadn’t considered that in recent times. That’s an order he not approach either of those witnesses.
PRISONER: I’m going to see -
HIS HONOUR: I make an order in relation to Susan Brebner.
PRISONER: I’ll be breaking that order and with pleasure.
MS AMOS: And in relation to Elizabeth Turrini. And the request was that Mr Lonsdale not attend at their residence or place of employment.
HIS HONOUR: I make an order Mr Lonsdale that you don’t approach Susan Brebner anywhere she may be including her residence or her place at work at the Legal Services Commission -
PRISONER: That’s going to last about two seconds.
HIS HONOUR: - or any other place she may be. I make a similar order in relation to Elizabeth Turrini. I also make an order that you not approach any of the premises of the Legal Services Commission -
PRISONER: That’s exactly.
HIS HONOUR: - I do however indicate that you are perfectly entitled to apply for legal aid by filling out a legal aid application form and sending it to them. You are also entitled to ring them and discuss it with them but only so long as you remain civil and make no threats. Therefore you are entitled to apply for legal aid for any future legal proceedings. You can apply for legal aid to appeal against this decision I’ve made. You can also appeal against this decision I’ve made without legal aid. However, as you continue to make threats despite all my warnings, I have to make those orders you not approach those people.
PRISONER: I’ll be breaking those orders. Perjury -
HIS HONOUR: If you break them Mr Lonsdale the only person who will suffer is you. You seem to think others will suffer. You will be the one who will be penalised, please don’t do it.
PRISONER: I will.
HIS HONOUR: Anything else?
PRISONER: I have the right to defend myself.
MS AMOS: Has your Honour considered compensation? I know your Honour Mr Lonsdale -
HIS HONOUR: I am satisfied he has no ability to pay a pecuniary penalty therefore there will be no order Mr Lonsdale pay for any of the damages.
MS AMOS: Thank you your Honour.
The only other issue was I did amend the information tos.85(3), the maximum penalty for that is 10 years. I mention that for clarity.
HIS HONOUR: Very well. I note that. I think I was aware of that although I might have mistakenly said life imprisonment based on the original documentation. Thank you for pointing that out. Anything else?
MS AMOS: That’s all.
HIS HONOUR: Court will adjourn.
ADJOURNED 2.39 P.M.