A Teenager has Undergone a Mental Health Assessment After Allegedly Stabbing a Church of Scientology Employee in Sydney

 

It is alleged that on Thursday 3 January 2019, a 16-year-old teenager has stabbed a 24-year-old scientologist.

It is reported that the 16-year-old teenager attended the Sydney headquarters Scientology Church to visit his mum who was participating in a “purification ceremony”.

It’s alleged that the teenager stabbed the deceased in the neck when being escorted away from the Church.

The deceased was a Taiwanese national who was a parishioner studying at the sprawling bush centre. He died later in hospital.

Police allege that the same teenager also stabbed, causing lacerations, to a 30-year-old male victim who was also escorting the teenager away.

The Teenager was arrested and taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital the next day where he was subject to a mental health assessment.

On Wednesday, the teenager was reportedly requested to leave after a “domestic incident” when he produced a 25cm kitchen knife while on the driveway.

He has now been charged with a raft of criminal charges, including murder, common assaults, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray offences.

The church sits on a 13,500 square metre building in Chatswood as the biggest scientology centre other than the one located in America. It was bought by the Church at a reported price of $37 million in two thousand and fourteen.

The teenager has been refused bail and will be appearing at the Children’s Court.

Chief inspector Jones was reported saying, “All I can tell you, it was a domestic incident. It does not relate to the Scientology premises here.”

Penalties for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Offences

The penalty for committed the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in NSW carries up to 5-years imprisonment if dealt with in the District Court under section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Mostly, this charge is dealt with in the Local Court where the maximum penalty a Magistrate in this jurisdiction can impose is up to 2-years imprisonment.

However, there is a penalty of up to 7-years imprisonment if this offence if committed in the company of others- if dealt with in the District Court.

A person will be guilty of this offence if police can prove the following elements of this crime beyond reasonable doubt in court:

  1. The accused “assaulted” the victim; and
  2. The accused’s conduct caused the victim to suffer “actual bodily harm”.

“Assault” here means any act, and not a mere omission to act, by which a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence. (R v Burstow; R v Ireland [1998] 1 AC 147. It also includes actual infliction of unlawful force on another.

A person can do this “recklessly” if he/she at the time realised that the victim might fear that he/she would then and there be subjected to immediate and unlawful violence or force, but still took that risk anyway.

“Actual bodily harm” is not defined in the Legislation but includes any hurt or injury which interferes with the victim’s health or comfort. Examples of such injury includes bruising or scratching. For injury to fit into this category it is required to be more than merely transient or trifling, but is not required to be permanent harm.

To be more precise, Justice Johnson in McIntyre v R said that actual bodily harm is something less than “grievous bodily harm” which required really serious physical injury, and “wounding”, which requires breaking of the skin.

Some common defences to the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm include, self-defence, absence of a realisation by the accused that the victim might fear the immediate and unlawful violence or force, causation in the sense the accused actions did not cause the harm alleged, mistaken identity and duress or necessity.

There are various types of penalties that a court can impose for this offence outlined on our link to penalties for criminal offences in NSW.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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