Alleged offender escapes Goulburn's Chisholm Ross Centre

Police investigated at Caltex Woolworths in Clinton Street on Friday night following an alleged car-jacking. Photo: Tom Sebo.
Police investigated at Caltex Woolworths in Clinton Street on Friday night following an alleged car-jacking. Photo: Tom Sebo.

A man accused of attempted carjacking and threatening a teenager with a knife on Friday night had been placed under a forcible order for mental health assessment at the Chisholm Ross Centre, court documents have revealed.

The information contradicts a Southern NSW Health District statement on Monday that the man presented voluntarily at Goulburn’s Chisholm Ross Centre on Friday.

“(He) was in the course of the assessment process when he left of his own accord. He was not a patient of the facility,” a spokesman said.

However, documents for a Goulburn Base Hospital bedside bail court hearing on Saturday for the 26-year-old Tallong man noted that at the time of the alleged offence, the accused was “under order for assessment.”

“Further risk of offence. Not coping well. Risks could be mitigated if returned to Chisholm Ross after surgery,” defence submissions detailed in the document stated.

The prosecution opposed bail on Saturday.

“No bail condition could mitigate the risk,” the document stated.

The man was placed in custody. 

The Health District declined to answer further questions in regard to the case, including the time of accused’s presentation and where he was when he left.

“Due to privacy issues and as the matter is part of a police investigation, Southern NSW Local Health District cannot make further comments,” a spokesman said.

Questioned further on the discrepancy in information on Wednesday, a spokesman acknowledged that the man was taken to Chisholm Ross on Friday under a Section 22 order. This enables police to take a person who appears to be mentally ill to a declared facility if the person is at risk to themselves or others or “has recently committed or is committing an offence.”

“It was during the admission process that the man absconded from the unit,” the spokesman said.

“A detailed review of the matters around the man’s admission is underway to ensure appropriate procedures were followed.”

Goulburn's Chisholm Ross mental health facility.

Goulburn's Chisholm Ross mental health facility.

The Health District twice declined to answer how the man escaped the facility.

The man has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with intent to rob, robbery, two counts of entering inclosed lands without lawful excuse and one of attempting to take and drive a conveyance without the owner’s consent. He has not entered a plea.

Police claimed he made several attempts to access cars in Goulburn that night. They alleged he assaulted a 42-year-old Goulburn man at the Addison Street/Faithfull Street intersection between 7pm and 8.30pm, fracturing his eye socket and inflicting cuts and bruises. He is also accused of threatening a 17-year-old Goulburn boy with a knife and demanding his car keys at Caltex, Clinton Street. 

The teen handed over his keys and escaped without injury. Police said the male fled after he couldn’t start the car, but was arrested at a nearby park soon after.

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The accused was also charged with entering residential yards in Coromandel Street and Deccan Street the same night.

In Goulburn Local Court on Wednesday, solicitor Jaki Gore said she understood her client was supposed to have appeared via audio-visual link from jail, but he had not done so.

She flagged a possible bail application, pending discussions about the man’s mental health.

“He was bail refused on the weekend. His parents are here in court and I spoke to them earlier in the week,” she said.

“...He was suffering mental health (issues) on the weekend and indications are from the contact his parents had with him at the jail, that he probably still is.”

The bail application would enable her client to receive the treatment he required.

Magistrate Geraldine Beattie set July 20 for the application, if it goes ahead.

A brief of evidence is expected to take eight weeks, with the matter not returning to court until September.