| 18.11,11. 01:00 PM |
Senator Mary Jo Fisher guilty of assault
November 18, 2011
Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher has been found guilty of assaulting a security guard, but has been cleared of shoplifting.
Magistrate Kym Boxall said he found Fisher to be a witness of truth and that she was having a panic attack when accused of leaving a shop with unpaid-for food.
However, he found she did assault the guard.
Fisher was tried in the Adelaide Magistrates Court for stealing $92.92 worth of groceries last December and assaulting a security guard who tried to stop her from leaving a store.
Her lawyer, Michael Abbott, told her trial the senator was having a panic attack when she left the Foodland store on December 15 last year with goods she had not paid for.
Mr Abbott said Fisher had clearly engaged in bizarre behaviour rather than trying to hide anything.
The security guard, Cathryn Groot, told the court she saw Fisher load up her personal trolley with groceries, then take them all out on the floor and repack them in a way that made the trolley appear empty.
Fisher then went to the checkout and paid for only a few items in her hands.
Mr Abbott dismissed the assault allegation, saying she was acting in self-defence when she tried to shut her car door on the guard's arm, because she wanted to deal with her symptoms.
Mr Abbott will argue for a conviction not to be recorded.
The Liberal Senator attracted headlines earlier this year when she performed the Hokey Pokey and the Time Warp in the chamber to parody the government's carbon tax.
In his judgment, Magistrate Boxall says Ms Fisher left the store because she was feeling extremely unwell and pushed the guard because she wanted to get to her car to deal with her symptoms.
"She was intent upon achieving her own objectives of leaving the store and getting into her vehicle, and she decided to use physical force against Ms Groote, because Ms Groote was preventing her from doing what she wished to do.
"There is no genuine self-defence issue in this case."
He said he accepted it was only due to her illness.The case is about to resume for sentencing submissions.