Ice addict refused bail for assault

A GRAFTON man who allegedly came at police with a kitchen knife in each hand has been revealed to have a significant ice addiction.

With stitches below one eye and a section of his head shaved, James Russell appeared before the court on Monday to make a bail application over charges of armed with intent, resist police, assault police, and assault occassioning bodily harm, following an incident outside a Prince St address on June 18.

It has been alleged by police the 31-year-old struck a man with a glass beer bottle as he was buckling a young child into a car. The pair allegedly came to blows before Russell retreated to his premises and returned with a baseball bat.

After police arrived he allegedly approached officers with two kitchen knives, one in each hand, and threatened them.

When called on to drop the knives he did so but allegedly continued to advance on police and was tasered as a result.

In court on Monday, the police prosecutor said it had "all the hallmarks of an ice-related incident".

A report by rehabilitation program MERIT showed Russell has used between 2-3 points of crystal methampthetamine a day, and had done so for the last three years.

It also showed a cannabis habit lasting 17 years, and said he had been using benzodiazapines for the last three years.

"The accused shouldn't walk out of a custody into a place... where he can pick up where he left," the prosecutor said.

Despite conceding there was a strong prosecution case, defence solicitor Greg Coombes said the likelihood of a custodial sentence was not definite if Russell's drug problem was addressed.

He said the accused, a father of four, had strong family ties to the area and no "axe to grind" with the alleged victim of the assault.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said the application was based on Russell's need for rehabilitation, but it was unrealistic to expect that allowing him to be released into the community would benefit him in the way it needed to.

Citing comments made by his partner at the time of the offence, including "I don't know what's wrong with him, he just lost it", and "don't let him go next door, he's got a knife", Ms Denes said the risk to the community was too great.

"This is long-term drug use that needs to be addressed in a residential facility," she said.

Russell was refused bail is expected to return to Grafton Local Court via AVL on August 8.



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