Bus driver bashed unconscious

ANNE CLARKSON
Last updated 13:39 25/07/2014

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A 17-year-old has been jailed for her part in an incident in which a bus driver at New Brighton was beaten unconscious.

A judge apologised to Lucy Anne Hamilton for not having a suitable facility or home for her to be sentenced to, and sent her to jail for 18 months.

Hamilton was sentenced after admitting a charge of robbery, a breach of supervision, some assaults, including on police officers, and wilful damage.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish said there was no suitable facility or home available for Hamilton, and there were difficulties for the justice system and the mental health system.

Hamilton had been involved with the Mental Health Service since the age of six and had been diagnosed recently with borderline personality disorder. She depended on drugs and other substances, but when her medication was managed her behaviour was good, Judge Farish said.

On February 25 Hamilton and two alleged co-offenders were on a bus heading for New Brighton.

The driver approached them because of their language and inappropriate behaviour. At the end of the ride they were the last three on the bus when Hamilton told the driver she didn't like his attitude, swore at him, and spat at his face.

The two co-offenders stepped in and beat the driver until he was unconscious while Hamilton took the cash tray. Hamilton told the judge she was sorry, was shocked at the attack, and that she felt powerless now.

Judge Farish said Hamilton should have hope, and she had a choice to lead a better life if she accepted some of the help offered to her.

She sentenced her to 18 months prison with special release conditions that she live at an address approved by probation, not possess or consume alcohol or drugs, and attend and complete programmes and treatment for drug abuse and stopping violence.

She is to undertake psychiatric assessment and counselling, and allow ongoing communication between the Mental Health Service and probation.

She also has to comply with her medication regime.

Judge Farish read Hamilton the first-strike warning for violent offenders, then warned her that despite the directions she had given it was up to the Department of Corrections as to which courses she would be able to do.

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