ACT News

Man arrested at parliament with knife sent for mental health checks

A Turner man who allegedly brandished a knife outside Parliament House later told police he had been sent by God to give a message to Australia's leaders.

A Canberra court on Friday heard Alidad Haqjoe, 27, had a history of delusional mental illness, had previously gone to Parliament House, was known to carry weapons, and had made threats in the past.

Police detain Alidad Haqjoe, 27, outside the ministerial wing of Parliament House on January 8, 2015.
Police detain Alidad Haqjoe, 27, outside the ministerial wing of Parliament House on January 8, 2015. Photo: Lukas Coch

Haqjoe was arrested on Thursday after sending a scare through capital hill when he allegedly produced a knife while talking to police.

Court documents said Haqjoe parked his car near the ministerial entrance about 11am and appeared confused when he spoke to police soon after, telling them he spoke Afghani and wanted an interpreter.

He allegedly became aggressive about 12.30pm when police attempted to search him, pulling a 30 centimetre kitchen knife and green battery lead from his pockets.

Police drew their weapons and told him to drop the knife, which he did, only to pick it up again, court documents said.

The defendant allegedly yelled "I am the God police" before he was tasered and disarmed.

The entire incident took about eight minutes.

Court documents said Haqjoe told police, during an interview, that he was a prophet and had gone to Parliament House on a mission from God to pass a message to the representatives.

He allegedly said he had taken the knife to scare officers so they could not arrest him. 

The defendant appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday on charges of weapon possession and obstructing police.

Both the defence and prosecution agreed that Haqjoe required further mental health assessment by medical authorities.

But the prosecution asked the court to order he be assessed from Canberra jail, saying the Adult Mental Health Unit at Canberra Hospital did not provide the required security.

The prosecutor told the court that Haqjoe had twice escaped from the unit in 2013.

She said it was in his best interests to be kept in a secure location until a proper assessment took place because he had no insight into his illness and had a history of resisting treatment.

But Haqjoe's Legal Aid solicitor argued jail was not an appropriate place for the mentally ill.

Haqjoe, through an interpreter, told the court he had been in Australia for almost three years, and spent about six months in detention in Darwin and Perth.

He claimed he been forced to take medication after "fights and arguments" with the Australian government.

He told the court the allegations were false and requested the opportunity to tell his side of the story.

Magistrate Robert Cook ordered Haqjoe be taken to the hospital's high dependency unit for assessment.

Haqjoe will re-appear before the court once the mental health assessment has taken place.