Bad batch of methadone blamed for savage assault
Bad batch of methadone blamed for savage assault

Bashed in a South Grafton shopping aisle

A SOUTH Grafton woman who bashed a woman in a supermarket aisle has used a bad batch of methadone as the reason for the attack.

Susan Rae McDonald faced Grafton Local Court on Monday on a charge of common assault, which was laid after she attacked a woman in South Grafton's Coles Supermarket on August 12 last year.

McDonald's solicitor, Anne-Alece Johnston, said her client had been grief stricken when a close friend died from a heart attack, possibly brought on by a drug overdose, and sought to buy some methadone to help her through the feelings of loss.

Ms Johnston said her client believed the methadone she received, from the victim of the assault, was contaminated.

"She had a serious reaction and was taken to Grafton Base Hospital," Ms Johnston said.

"Blood was taken and tests show it was positive for HIV."

Further tests revealed the blood sample was negative to HIV, but she was under severe stress.

"When she saw the victim at Coles she sort of froze," Ms Johnston said.

"She couldn't speak - all she could do was lash out at her."

Mr Johnston said her client was extremely remorseful for the attack, which left the victim with bruising to the head and body.

"She accepts her wrongdoing. Her headspace was not strong at the time and when she saw the complainant she hit her," Ms Johnstone said.

She said there was some some longstanding acrimony between McDonald and the victim.

The police evidence was McDonald came up to the victim as she was kneeling and looking at phone accessories.

McDonald pushed the victim to the ground, then punched the left side of her head and upper body.

Two other shoppers separated McDonald and the victim.

The victim attended Grafton Police Station on the day of the assault but was too anxious to make a statement. She returned on September 14 and provided a statement to police.

On March 2, police attended McDonald's home, where she admitted to the assault and expressed remorse for the attack.

Magistrate Kathy Crittenden did not place much weight on the methadone defence.

She said the victim had been attacked and humiliated in a public place.

"It was an act of violence in a public place that cannot be tolerated," Ms Crittenden said.

But she said McDonald's remorse for her actions was genuine and showed she was taking steps to address these issues, which was a "very positive thing".

This was a strong element in McDonald's sentence of a 12-month community corrections order, Ms Crittenden said, with a condition of continued counselling to address anger issues.