A man who rammed the main gates of the United States embassy in Canberra is mentally ill, and had checked himself out of Canberra's secure mental health ward earlier that day.
Adrian Richardson, 30, faced court for allegedly using his small orange Peugeot hatchback to ram the gates of one of the city's most secure buildings at about 5.45pm Wednesday night.
The small car caused significant damage to the thick security gate, with an estimated replacement cost of between $80,000 to $100,000.
It also managed to breach the embassy's perimeter, the court heard.
US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich and a number of other internationally protected persons were inside the embassy at the time, and the incident sparked a significant security response from ACT's police and AFP Protective Services.
Richardson, from Queensland, was unhurt and got out of the car, only to be caught and held by security.
He was arrested and kept in custody overnight, charged with damaging the premises of an internationally protected person.
Police say Richardson refused to answer any questions during an interview.
The specialist bomb squad searched the man's car as a precaution, but no explosives were found.
The ACT Magistrates Court heard on Thursday that Richardson required further assessment at the Adult Mental Health Unit at Canberra Hospital.
Richardson was previously in the mental health facility under order of the courts, and stayed voluntarily when the order lapsed.
Mental health workers were seeking further orders to keep Richardson in the facility, but the 30-year-old left before they were obtained.
The court heard Richardson had turned off his lights about 40 metres from the approach to the embassy's driveway, as a private security guard watched on.
He made a "slow and deliberate" 90 degree turn onto the driveway and revved his engine, according to police.
Richardson then allegedly accelerated hard for 20 metres down the driveway toward the gate, ploughing into the 3.4 metre high and 4.6 metres wide gate without braking.
Staff at the US Embassy, one of the most heavily protected diplomatic buildings in the nation's capital, made a brief statement on Thursday morning.
"At approximately 5:45pm on July 10, a vehicle crashed into and damaged an exterior vehicle entrance gate of the U.S. Embassy in Canberra," it said.
"There were no injuries, and the driver has been taken into custody by Australian authorities.
"An investigation is under way, and the U.S. Embassy appreciates the timely and professional support provided by federal and local law enforcement and emergency services in response to this incident."
Workers were seen at the embassy on Thursday morning removing the damaged gate, while security guards watched on nearby.
Roads including Perth Avenue and Moonah Place were roads were closed during the incident.
Police said items removed from the boot of the car included a laundry basket and various pieces of men's clothing.
"The security here [at the embassy] did exactly what it was supposed to do," Acting Superintendent Darren Rath said.
An ACT Policing spokeswoman said the man was uninjured in the incident.
Richardson will be released from the mental health facility into the custody of police at a later date, and then re-appear before the ACT Magistrates Court.