A woman has admitted to causing $20,000 worth of damage to public housing after setting fire to a bathroom.
The 25-year-old pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court to a range of charges, including arson, damaging property, driving an unregistered vehicle, possessing cannabis, resisting arrest, committing indictable offences on bail and unlawful assault.
Last March, the woman smashed three windows at a former friend’s home after an altercation over a car.
Then in April, she was involved in a crash in Kangaroo Flat, and the car she was driving was unregistered and had no interlock device fitted, as required.
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The following day, police were called to her Bendigo address, with reports she as acting irrationally.
When police arrived, she told them she needed a bong to calm down, and grabbed a container containing a mix of cannabis and tobacco.
She resisted arrest and only complied once threatened with the use of capsicum spray, but continued to thrash out as police tried to take her out of the home.
In August, she punched a woman twice in the head and called her an obscene name when she said she could not help her with her phone not working, then smashed a photo frame and punched a hole in the wall at the premises.
On December 22, the woman was arrested after setting fire to the bathroom of a Flora Hill home owned by the Department of Health and Human Services, causing $20,000 in damage.
The court heard she had been served a notice to vacate the property by December 21.
When the home was inspected, it was also found there were holes in walls, smoke alarms forcibly removed, and damage to a security door.
A clinician determined she was drug-affected at the time.
The woman tried to set fire to the cell door at the police station, and was uncooperative in the interview, spitting and interfering with the recording equipment.
The woman’s defence lawyer, Nicholas Rolfe, told the court the woman had issues with mental illness, was addicted to cannabis, and used ice.
Mr Rolfe said she was trying to do something about her drug use, and asked that she be assessed for a community corrections order.
He said she had a limited criminal history prior to these matters.
But magistrate Michael King instead decided to have her assessed for the Court Integrated Services Program, because it would demonstrate her willingness to engage and would provide holistic support, including with housing and rehabilitation.
Dr King stressed that arson was a very dangerous offence, and noted her issues with drug use and violence.
But he said she was a young woman and had her life ahead of her.
The woman remains in custody and will reappear at court on February 14.
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