Thursday, March 15, 2012

Anger after acid tripper off hook

Meagan Dillon   | The NT News | 12 March 2012

A TERRITORY magistrate has been accused of opening "Pandora's box" after dismissing an assault case because the man was on his first "acid" trip and wasn't responsible for his actions.

James Kidd, 22, had assault charges against him dismissed in Darwin Magistrates Court because he was incoherent and not criminally responsible.

Magistrate John Lowndes used a unique part of the NT Criminal Code to find Kidd did not "act with the necessary mental elements" to be held accountable for his crime.

"In order to be criminally responsible there needs to be a marriage between the physical elements and the mental elements," he said.

Dr Lowndes found that Kidd - who was on his first LSD trip and couldn't remember attacking June Moffatt in her front yard - was not in his right mind.

Ms Moffatt, 52, said she fears this will become a precedent for future offenders to escape prosecution.

"So let me get this straight! You can get off your face on any drug or drink and cause grief to any one without any worries of prosecution? What has happened to our justice system?"
Concerned citisen

"It's opened Pandora's box," she said. She said her attacker took the acid of his own free will and should have to take responsibility for what happened.

On November 26, 2010, Ms Moffatt was punched in the head at least three times before being picked up and thrown to the ground where she lost consciousness.

The violent attack was sparked by Ms Moffatt's threats to call police if Kidd did not leave the front yard of her Millner home. "He had enough wits about him to react when I said the word cops," she said.

Prosecutor Sam Burke said: "His behaviour went from extremely violent and agitated to confused, apologetic and scared.

"He hit her deliberately, in response to her words, hard, and it was undoubtedly intentional."

But Dr Lowndes said Kidd had to "foresee" the possible consequences of his conduct to be criminally responsible - but couldn't when experimenting with drugs for the first time.

He said Kidd would not have known the drugs would "predispose him to violent behaviour".

Ms Moffatt said she was "devastated' the charges were thrown out of court simply because her attacker was oblivious to his crime.

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