ACT News


Canberra man accused of Griffith murder 'extremely violent and dangerous', court hears

A Stuart Flats resident allegedly stabbed a neighbour to death during a dispute at the public housing complex on Monday afternoon.

Police were called to scene in Griffith about 4.30pm on Monday, finding the body of a 46-year-old man, and later charged Scott Jamie Cole, 40, with what is the ACT's second alleged murder so far this year.

Mr Cole appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for the first time on Tuesday, but entered no plea and made no application for bail. 

Prosecutors described him as "extremely violent and dangerous", and opposed a move by Mr Cole's defence to have him placed in the Canberra Hospital's mental health unit, saying there was a risk he may escape.

Mr Cole looked around at the public gallery as he walked into the courtroom, but did not speak during the brief appearance.

No details of the allegations were aired during Tuesday's proceedings.


But Fairfax Media understands Mr Cole is alleged to have inflicted stab wounds on a neighbour on Monday afternoon. 

On Tuesday, the court heard there were concerns about Mr Cole's mental state. 

He was assessed briefly by mental health workers while in custody, and his lawyer James Maher asked the court to consider making an order that he be sent to hospital for immediate assessments and treatment.

But prosecutor Anthony Williamson urged the court not take that course, saying the hospital may not be able to hold Mr Cole.

"The hospital would not be as secure as the [Alexander Maconochie Centre] would be," he said.

"It is our position that staff at the AMC are much better placed to deal with him."

He said Mr Cole's mental health could be assessed in prison.

The lack of a secure mental health facility in the ACT has consistently been the source of such problems.

The secure facility, described by advocates as a missing link in the ACT's mental health system, is currently under construction at Symonston and is expected to begin operating late this year.

Mr Williamson said there was a risk of escape from the Canberra Hospital's mental health unit, while no one had ever escaped from the AMC.

Magistrate Peter Morrison said he was not prepared to make the order that would have sent Mr Cole to hospital, instead marking him a prisoner-at-risk and remanding him to the AMC.

Mr Cole will reappear in court in mid-March.