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Jail for assault, alcohol and accidents

Michelle Hussey

By Jessica Howard

A Ballan woman who wrote off a Mercedes Benz before punching a police officer in the face will spend the next six-weeks in jail.

Michelle Hussey was unlicensed and allegedly under the influence of alcohol when she borrowed a friend’s car and drove to Yarraville before crashing into a Mercedes Benz, writing it off completely.

The 52-year-old appeared in the Bacchus Marsh Magistrates Court on Friday (April 20) charged with a number of offences including driving while disqualified, refuse to undergo breath test and assault.

The court heard that on March 1 2017, the accused was observed driving erratically between Ballan and Newport.

Hussey allegedly swerved in and out of a number of lanes on the freeway before exiting at Yarraville and colliding with the luxury car and then a power pole.

Police attended the scene, where the accused appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Hussey refused to undergo a breath test and began to behave in an aggressive manner, hitting one of the police officers to the left side of his cheek.

Police prosecutor, Leading Senior Constable Lisa Schoemaker said the accused was restrained by police before being placed in an ambulance, where she appeared to switch between severe aggression and a close-to-unconscious state.

In another matter, Hussey was approached by police after reports of a suspicious vehicle located on Bacchus Marsh-Balliang Road at around 1:15am on May 30, last year.

Upon attending the scene, police observed Hussey and a male standing near a vehicle, which was located beside a damaged wire fence.

The court heard both Hussey and the male told police it was them who had driven the vehicle. Hussey then began yelling at the police, pointing her finger in the face of one officer and punching him to the side of the mouth.

The accused was then pepper-sprayed, arrested and placed in police cells for a matter of hours.

In a third matter, on November 4, Hussey was observed by an unmarked police car driving on the wrong side of the road in Hoppers Crossing.

The court heard four vehicles were made to swerve out of the way of the accused in order to avoid a collision. Hussey drove 350-metres before she was intercepted by police.

After refusing to undergo a breath test, she asked police if she could instead “sleep it off”. Upon their refusal, she began shouting aggressively and kicked both officers in the knees.

The court heard that at the time of the offending, Hussey was in breach of a Community Corrections Order, which had conditions including 150-hours of community work – none of which she had completed.

Hussey’s defence lawyer said the offending was a result of a break-down in marriage, which occurred in 2014 due to domestic violence.

She said an intervention order against the ex-husband had left Hussey homeless and without her four kids, two of which suffer from severe disabilities.

“As a result of these stresses in her life, she began drinking,” she said.

“[Hussey] understands she has done the wrong thing… she knows she’s in a lot of trouble and she doesn’t want to go to jail”.

Leading Senior Constable Lisa Schoemaker said there were common themes in Hussey’s offending.

“A message needs to be sent to the community, I don’t see any other option [than jail time]”.

Magistrate Gregory Robinson said while he understood the accused had experienced some family hardship, “self-induced drunkenness” was not the answer.

“Her history and the assault on police officers is enough to warrant a term of imprisonment,” he said.

Hussey was sentenced to 42 days in jail, with an 18-month Community Corrections Order to follow.

Her license was disqualified for a period of four-years.

“This is a lenient sentence,” Magistrate Robinson said.

“If not for your plea of guilty, I would have sentenced you to two-years in jail.

“If you breach the Community Corrections Order, you will be looking at serving that time”.