A MAN who launched a frenzied and chaotic attack on two police officers at Toronto last year, stabbing one five times in the leg and the other in the hand, prompting both officers to fire their guns and one to run out into traffic, was suffering from a mental illness at the time, Newcastle District Court has heard.
Oliver Tam Scales Copeland, now 26, of Bronte, faced the first day of a two-day judge-alone trial on Thursday focusing entirely on his mental state at the time he attacked two senior constables at the Caltex service station on Cary Street on October 6 last year.
Mr Scales Copeland was arraigned and softly replied "not guilty" to two counts of wounding a person with intent to prevent arrest, using an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence. During her opening address, DPP Trial Advocate Kristy Mulley said there was no dispute between the parties that Mr Scales Copeland was the person responsible for attacking the police.
Ms Mulley said the central issue for Judge Tim Gartelmann, SC, to determine is whether Mr Scales Copeland has the defence of mental illness available to him, but noted that both the prosecution expert, psychiatrist Dr Olav Nielssen, and defence expert, psychiatrist Dr Richard Furst, agreed that Mr Scales Copeland had the defence available.
Ms Mulley said Mr Scales Copeland was first involved in an altercation with another driver on The Boulevarde at Toronto after Mr Scales Copeland twice allowed his car to roll back into the other car. Mr Scales Copeland then got out of his car and, armed with a knife, confronted the other driver, screaming "you rammed my f---ing car" and threatened to stab him.
Mr Scales Copeland then confronted another driver, slashed a car tyre and then approached a mini-van full of people on their way to do community service work and said: "Where is my ounce, give me my f---ing ounce you owe me." Two police officers walked the short distance from Toronto police station to the service station and discovered Mr Scales Copeland still armed with the knife.
They told him to drop the knife and get on the ground and Mr Scales Copeland replied: "Come on you dogs, I'll take you on".
Mr Scales Copeland stabbed one police officer five times in the thigh, including one deep wound, and stabbed the other in the finger down to the bone.
CCTV footage played in court on Thursday showed Mr Scales Copeland, who is wearing only a pair of red underpants, sprinting through the service station after a police officer. The officers fired five shots at Mr Scales Copeland, which all missed and he was arrested with the help of witnesses after police used capsicum spray.