A woman whose behaviour has posed a repeated violent problem for police and prison staff for months is back on her medication and under close monitoring by probation and a judge.
Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish said 27-year-old Chelsea Fairless did not have a healthy respect for police or the authorities.
Defence counsel Michael Starling acknowledged there had been violent incidents in recent months when Fairless was being taken into custody, or appearing at court, or being moved at the prison. She had been injured in one of these episodes.
Fairless has been a regular at the court for years, mostly for nuisance offending, but this time she was arrested after an incident in the Christchurch Police Station foyer when a woman police officer received a dislocated shoulder.
Fairless ended up in custody awaiting sentence for assaulting the officer in the execution of her duty, disorderly behaviour in the station, trespass, damaging a police gown, and failing to attend a Community Alcohol and Drugs programme while on supervision.
Mr Starling acknowledged that the police had tried to get her to leave the station, and had done everything they could to resolve the matter peacefully, but Fairless had put them in a position where they had to use force.
Judge Farish said the problem was that Fairless had no ability to “de-escalate” situations where her emotions were triggered.
Fairless said from the dock that she recognised that she needed to be on her current medication which helped her and controlled her behaviour.
Judge Farish said Fairless had done well on a previous sentence of intensive supervision and had not offended. Although she had problems with police, she got on well with probation.
She imposed a sentence of 18 months of supervision with judicial monitoring – the judge will get her first progress report in two months – as well as anger management, counselling, and on-going medical treatment for medication to manage her mental health.
Fairless will also have to do 100 hours of community work and pay $208 for the damage to the police-issue gown.