Paramedic 'constantly feels choked' after attack by drug affected man
A sobbing paramedic says she "constantly feels choked" after she was bashed in an ambulance by a man on a cocktail of drugs.
Prosecutors want James Haberfield locked up for the assault and are appealing his non-custodial sentence in the Victorian County Court.
The then-21-year-old attacked his victim in January 2019 after she was called to an incident in Melbourne's north.
Monica, who doesn't want her surname used, told the court she was "constantly feeling choked" and suffered ongoing "distressing flashbacks" because of the attack.
"I experience recurring thoughts of the incident, playing over and over in my head," she said today.
She had flashbacks that were "so vivid" of being trapped in the back of the ambulance and assaulted.
She told the judge she has not been able to return to work as a paramedic due to her psychological and physical injuries.
Magistrate Simon Zebrowski decided in August not to send Haberfield to jail because of his age, pre-existing autism spectrum disorder and increased risk of suicide in custody.
Haberfield pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury to an emergency worker and assaulting an emergency worker. He was sentenced to a community corrections order.
Prosecutors argue it was not open to Mr Zebrowski to impose any sentence other than a jail term, as required by legislation.
Haberfield had gone into a psychotic state after the four-day Rainbow Serpent festival, where he'd consumed a cocktail of drugs including ice, MDMA and ketamine, the court was told.
His family initially took him to hospital after the festival, but he fled and walked into a Coburg home, terrifying the residents.
When paramedics arrived, Haberfield punched Monica in the face, put her in a headlock, and squeezed and pinned her to the back door of the ambulance.
Haberfield's lawyer argued his impaired mental functioning was not solely caused by self-induced intoxication.
Forensic psychiatrist Andrew Carroll told the court Haberfield had schizophrenia and was "acutely psychotic" during the attack and had persecutory delusions.
Taking the drugs was like "pouring petrol" on a fire, he said.
"The illicit substances acted as a potent fuel which severely exacerbated his mental state," Dr Carroll told the court.
But Haberfield's "severely acute disturbance" in January would not have happened if he had not taken the cocktail of drugs, the doctor said.
Haberfield had stopped using illicit drugs, was undergoing regular drug counselling and began taking anti-psychotic medications.
The appeal before Judge Michael Tinney continues.
© AAP 2019