Attempted murder sentence halted over safety concerns

Rex Martinich |

Sentencing has been halted for attempted murder after the defendant made outbursts in court.
Sentencing has been halted for attempted murder after the defendant made outbursts in court.

Sentencing was brought to a halt for a man who attempted to murder his neighbour over concerns for the defendant’s own safety following his outbursts and behaviour in court.

Shaun Michael White pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to murder in Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday, but had to be removed from the courtroom after repeatedly verbally interrupting the proceedings and harming himself while seated in the dock.

White entered his next-door neighbour’s yard at Caloundra West on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on April 13, 2022 and stabbed the man, aged 45 at the time, in the neck, chest and back with a hunting knife.

Crown prosecutor Melissa Wilson told the court that White had become a problem for his neighbours almost immediately after they moved in about 18 months before the stabbing.

Ms Wilson said White made a post on Facebook about 10 days prior to the stabbing, in which he complained about being kept up at night by his neighbour’s sensor-activated light.

“It’s not wrong to kill a bogan, right? Kind of like killing a parasitic bug that gives nothing but takes everything,” White said in the post.

Ms Wilson said White had alleged the light at the front of the neighbour’s house was causing him insomnia, at which point White interrupted the proceedings.

“That’s not true. It gave me photophobia. It gave me debilitating headaches,” Mr White told the court.

After White was told by his solicitor not to speak, Ms Wilson resumed her submissions and said on the day of the attack, White had been ranting to his neighbours about tree cuttings.

White again interrupted, claiming none of that was true and accused his defence barrister Robert Glenday of not doing his job properly.

Justice Glenn Martin said there were a number of options for how to proceed.with the sentencing.

“If your client can not remain quiet, then he may need to be taken to a remote area. As I understand it these are agreed facts,” Justice Martin said.

Mr Glenday was granted a five-minute adjournment to speak with White.

White remained in the dock after his meeting and began self-harming before Mr Glenday, Ms Wilson and Justice Martin returned to the courtroom.

Corrective Services officers decided to remove White from the courtroom for safety reasons.

When Justice Martin returned, Mr Glenday said he and his instructing solicitor wished to withdraw from representing White due to a conflict.

Justice Martin granted the application and said the conflict was obvious from what happened in court.

The matter was adjourned until May 8 for a review.

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