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‘Take responsibility for your own life’: Tom Elliott says mental illness isn’t an excuse for bashing paramedics

A 22-year-old who brutally attacked two paramedics while coming down from a drug-fuelled bender has escaped jail time.

James Haberfield was on a cocktail of drugs when he repeatedly punched a female paramedic in the face, and injured a male paramedic who was trying to come to her aid.

In February, Minister for Emergency Services Lisa Neville said anyone who attacks an emergency services worker would be jailed.

“At the minimum they have to go to prison,” she told Tom Elliott.

Magistrate Simon Zebrowski today ordered Haberfield to serve an 18-month community service order.

The magistrate ruled that the attacker was exempt from a six month mandatory jail sentence because he is mentally ill and has autism.

Tom Elliott said mental illness isn’t an excuse.

“I am sick of mental health being used as an excuse for appalling criminal behaviour in our society,” he said.

The 3AW Drive host said the magistrate’s ruling is indicative of  “a broader issue in society”.

“What we’ve seen with this ridiculous decision by the magistrate is really the chickens coming home to roost,” he said.

“You’ve got a government that says drinking is really a health issue, it’s not an issue where people choose.

“Taking drugs, even though it’s against the law, it’s not really against the law cause we’ll give you a place to do it.

“That’s the reason James Haberfield is walking today a free man with nothing more than a community corrections order for bashing a young female paramedic, who hasn’t been able to go back to work.”

Tom Elliott said people need to take responsibility for their actions.

“Just about everybody these days wheels out the mental health card every time something goes wrong in their life.

“I’m sick of it. Take responsibility for your own life.

“If you want to bash a paramedic as James Haberfield did, you go to jail. End of story.”

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