Mum needs more than 'criminal justice system' can do

Fisher will need help to overcome a troubled past, a judge says.
Fisher will need help to overcome a troubled past, a judge says. John Weekes

A TROUBLED mother's problems are too profound for the criminal justice system alone to handle, but with help a better life is still possible, a judge says.

Helena Maree Fisher, 25, punched a policewoman who intervened when Fisher was in custody earlier this year and started tying a shirt around her own neck.

The punch aggravated serious existing jaw problems the Brisbane Watch House policewoman had.

Fisher, from Bundaberg, had a long history of offences involving public nuisance and assault.

She was once charged with assault after throwing a drink in a taxi driver's face after a fare dispute.

Other offences involved attacking or obstructing police.

"She seems to have a particular issue with police. But ultimately, incarcerating her isn't going to overcome the problem,” Judge David Reid said at Fisher's sentencing on Wednesday.

"I don't know if there is a way to overcome the problem.”

Fisher's parents came from the Charleville area, Brisbane District Court heard.

Substance abuse and major mental health problems characterised her offending, Judge Reid said.

Fisher experienced "impoverished social circumstances” which could not be ignored, Judge Reid said.

"She's sort of beyond what the criminal justice system can provide.”

But "intense psychological therapy” and a job would help Fisher lead a better life.

Prosecutor Sam Bain said the punch happened "in the context of a long and concerning criminal history.”

The injured woman who tried to help Fisher had to wear a splint at night, and was at risk of arthritis, the court heard.

Defence counsel Julian Noud said it was a sad case for the policewoman, and for Fisher.

Mr Noud said the watch house incident "happened at a very low point” for Fisher, who had since taken steps towards rehabilitation.

Fisher reconnected with her mother and planned to stay with family in Bundaberg.

Fisher's Aboriginal heritage was important to her, the barrister said.

"She still has memories of stories and songs from the old people,” Mr Noud said.

Fisher previously worked at a takeaway shop and had some expertise as a car mechanic, Mr Noud said.

But booze and drug issues since adolescence had sabotaged any long-term employment.

Fisher had been in custody since February.

On the latest charge, for serious assault causing bodily harm, she was released on parole immediately.

She will be subject to parole until February 2019.


Topics:  alcohol abuse bundaberg charleville foster care judge david reid substance abuse

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