Joondalup: woman who uses walking stick convicted of assaulting a police officer

Joondalup: woman who uses walking stick convicted of assaulting a police officer

THE lawyer of a woman who kicked a police officer in the shin told a Joondalup magistrate today a jail term would be “unjust” because she lived in pain with severe mobility problems.

Rebecca Gay Stevenson (36) appeared in Joondalup Magistrates Court assisted by a walking stick – and seemingly in pain as she walked or sat down – to face a charge of assaulting a public officer and three charges of breaching a violence restraining order (VRO).

But Magistrate Gregory Benn questioned the severity of her ailments given she was able to kick an officer and breach a VRO multiple times, sentencing her to 12 month’s jail suspended for 12 months.

“For someone who has such ill health, she’s still able to get around targeting this victim (of the VRO) and kicking police in the leg,” he said.

The court heard Stevenson, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was served with a VRO in July demanding she stay away from a 47-year-old former family friend.

But she breached it three times, including one occasion of abusing the victim on Facebook with slurs about her weight.

Police arrested Stevenson on August 20 and took her to the lock-up at the Joondalup police station.

This led to her kicking a female officer and abusing police, which resulted in officers charging her with assault and disorderly conduct.

Stevenson’s attorney Bill Meredith said his client was “extremely remorseful” and presented Mr Benn with multiple medical records showing diagnoses including borderline personality disorder, depression, fibro myalgia and renal failure.

He said a jail term would “clearly be unjust”.

“My client has these ailments, she should be going to hospital regularly,” he said.

But Mr Benn would not accept the medical records as a mitigating factor, saying Stevenson had caused the victim a “great deal of stress and humiliation”.

“You can’t just throw this bunch of medical reports at me and think that’s going to be enough to keep her out of jail,” he said.

“This is considered, conscious and active targeting of this person.”

Police prosecutor John Horton said he accepted Stevenson’s “significant health problems” but an immediate term of imprisonment was the “only reasonable option”.

He was not opposed to a suspended sentence.

Mr Benn sentenced Stevenson to four months prison for assaulting the officer and eight months prison for the three VRO breaches, suspending the terms for 12 months.

He fined her $500 for the disorderly conduct.