Simon Fleming was acquitted of an accused allegation of terrorism in Windang.
After hearing that a man shot into oncoming traffic and held two men hostage in a diving shop while suffering from a mental episode, a jury has been instructed to find him not guilty of committing a terrorist act.
Simon Fleming’s involvement in a terrorist act is not proven by a jury, as required by the Supreme Court.
Last week, the Crown agreed with the experts’ findings that Mr. Fleming was experiencing a mental health crisis.
Mr. Fleming will be housed at Malabar’s specialized mental health facility.
Justice Helen Wilson instructed the jury to find Simon Fleming not guilty of the allegation of participating in a terrorist act under the Mental Health Act during the fourth week of the Supreme Court trial in Parramatta.
The court heard that on November 28, 2021, Mr. Fleming left his residence in the Illawarra town of Windang while wearing all-black, carrying two weapons, and a silver suitcase made to resemble a bomb.
Before barricading himself in a diving shop with two guys, Mr. Fleming went to Windang Road and fired several bullets into the air and one round into the front of a vehicle.
After an hour-long standoff, he turned himself in to the authorities, and nobody was hurt.
Adam Martin, a forensic psychiatrist, said throughout the trial that Mr. Fleming’s schizophrenia made it difficult for him to grasp what he did that day.
There is no question that the accused had schizophrenia or schizo affective disorder, according to Justice Wilson, who noted the evidence of mental health impairment.
He was unaware of the nature and character of his action, or more likely, he was unaware that it was wrong.
The prosecution said Mr. Fleming was driven by right-wing views that may be characterized as “anti-Islamic, transphobic, or homophobic” throughout the trial, according to prosecutor James Renwick.
The manifesto of Mr. Fleming, which Mr. Renwick said was concerned with white genocide and disapproved of political correctness, feminism, and cultural Marxism, was submitted to the court.
The crown agreed with Dr. Martin’s testimony on Mr. Fleming’s mental health last week, but yesterday it was announced that there wasn’t enough evidence to establish that he committed a terrorist act. In the course of the trial, it was revealed that Mr. Fleming developed an addiction to drugs given for a working back injury he had in 2005, including opiate painkillers and antipsychotic drugs.
By the morning of the event, Mr. Fleming had run out of his prescribed medicine, which the court heard caused him to have a psychotic episode as a result of his drug withdrawal. The claim that Mr. Fleming was having a mental health crisis was backed, according to Ms. Wilson, by testimony from witnesses who came into contact with him on the morning in question. These witnesses included his mother Carol Fleming and diving shop employee Neill Hay.
Mr. Hay, who spoke with Mr. Fleming for around 30 minutes on this particular day, believed that he was quite obviously out of balance, Ms. Wilson said.
She said that Carol Fleming’s evidence was powerful in describing her son’s tragic recent decline into sickness and withdrawal, as well as his distraught mood on that particular day.
The additional 11 accusations involving his weapons, the false bomb, and the hostages, according to Justice Wilson, were “proven,” but they will also be handled in accordance with mental health laws.
Consequently, Mr. Fleming was “not criminally responsible for them,” according to her.
Leah Rowan, a defense attorney, said she will ask for the transfer of Mr. Fleming to a Sydney mental health hospital.
“The court makes an order that Mr. Fleming be detained in the justice health forensic network hospital at Malabar pending further order under this section,” said Justice Wilson.
The jury was excused by Justice Wilson, who thanked them for their service and for listening to the often “distressing” testimony.