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Rocky mum-of-five who stabbed man tries to claim self-defence

Janette Mason applied to the Rockhampton District Court to have her plea of guilty in relation to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm vacated.
Janette Mason applied to the Rockhampton District Court to have her plea of guilty in relation to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm vacated. Chris Ison ROK270716ccourt1

A WOMAN claimed she was not aware she could use self-defence as a defence against charges for stabbing her former partner.

Janette Mason had applied to the Rockhampton District Court to have her plea of guilty in relation to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm vacated.

On Wednesday, Judge Michael Burnett delivered his judgement on the application and his reasons for its dismissal.

Mason had pleaded guilty to the charge in the District Court on February 2, 2017.

The single mother-of-five, who was not present in court when the judgement was delivered, had been in a relationship for 12 months with the man she stabbed in the leg, two years ago.

The stabbing took place in her home, but her version of events differ from her former partner's.

Mason claims her former partner came to visit her, he had been smoking cannabis, and an argument erupted about a woman the man was in a relationship with at the time.

Mason claims she told the man she was going to see this new woman herself and he told her "no, you won't. I will tie you up”.

She claimed he threw her to the floor and was choking her when she spotted a knife under the lounge which she grabbed and told him to get away from her.

She claims that after she stabbed him in the leg in self-defence, he ran off from the house.

However, Judge Burnett told the court the man claimed that about sunrise, after being up all night, he told Mason he was going home.

He claimed Mason got up and yelled at him that if he left, she would stab him.

The man claimed when he reached the door, he felt a pain in his hamstring and as he went out the door, she yelled "that's what you get” and then slammed the door.

Judge Burnett told the court Mason claimed her Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Legal Service (ATSILS) appointed lawyer never told her she could defend the charge with a self-defence claim and that she only found out about it outside the court room after she'd entered the plea of guilty.

She claimed in her application that her lawyer told her to plea guilty and "just serve three months”.

Judge Burnett said her ATSIL appointed lawyer, in response to the allegations in the application, stated they had tried to contact Mason unsuccessfully in July 2016.

The lawyer said Mason attended their office on February 1, the day before her matter was set down for a trial, and she told him there that she was pleading guilty - not going to trial.

Judge Burnett commented that he found it difficult to accept Mason's claim that the first time she had knowledge of a self-defence defence was outside court given the transcript of her interview with police after the assault which they discuss self-defence.

He said he also found it difficult to conclude Mason did not understand what it meant to enter a plea of guilty given she had entered pleas in courts five times since 2014.

In dismissing the application, Judge Burnett set a date for Mason to appear in court for sentencing as September 6.

Topics:  judge michael burnett rockhampton district court



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