Sydney man who shot police officer at Nepean Hospital not guilty on mental illness grounds

Updated October 30, 2018 20:22:21

A man who shot a policeman with the officer’s own gun at Nepean Hospital in January 2016 has been found not guilty on the grounds of mental illness.

Key points:

  • De Guzman had pleaded not guilty on the grounds of mental illness
  • The judge described the incident as “a series of acts involving extreme violence and aggression”
  • The “brave actions” taken by police and emergency hospital staff were praised by the judge

Michael de Guzman was holding surgical scissors to the throat of a female doctor in the emergency department of the Western Sydney hospital when Sergeant Luke Warburton tried to disarm him.

Sergeant Warburton previously told the court he thought he was going to die after being shot and had called his wife to say goodbye.

Speaking outside court after the decision, Sergeant Warburton, who was flanked by his wife, said he was “bitterly disappointed”.

“It wasn’t the verdict we were after,” he said.

“I’ve got life-long injuries as a result of it, my leg doesn’t work any further [sic], these are all things that unfortunately you have to bear with it.”

He thanked his police colleagues, wife and family for their support.

Judge Christopher Robison said Sergeant Warburton should be formally commended for his handling of the situation.

Mr de Guzman will be detained and assessed by the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

He sat quietly in the court, hunched over and staring at his feet as Judge Robison handed down his verdict.

In a ‘delusional state’

In a lengthy judgement in court, Judge Robison described the incident at the hospital as “a series of acts involving extreme violence and aggression” and commended the actions taken by police.

He said the incident, which lasted between 10 and 15 minutes “must have felt like an eternity”.

“The police in my view should be commended for the way in which they did their best to handle a very difficult situation,” he said.

“I recall the look of shock and concern and to some degree panic on the faces of the hospital staff … it must have been a traumatic event for all concerned.”

At the time of the incident Mr de Guzman was screaming, “I will kill her. I will stab her in the neck”, as he held the scissors to the neck of the female doctor.

The judge said the doctor’s efforts were “brave and courageous”.

“She did her best at that time to avoid any confrontation or violence,” he said.

Judge Robison described hallucinations Mr de Guzman had involving his wife, who he believed was part of prostitution ring.

“Clearly he must have been in some sort of delusional state at that time,” he said.

He aslo recalled Mr de Guzman’s wife’s evidence during the trial that she “loved him” and “wanted to stay with him”.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, courts-and-trials, police, crime, kingswood-2747

First posted October 30, 2018 17:39:34

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