A 38-year-old ice affected man who stabbed a young woman in the face with scissors on a Sunday afternoon will inevitably do a lengthy prison term for the crime, a Supreme Court judge said.
Justice Robert Pearce's remark came as he ordered a report from the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist on Michael John Cowie. Crown prosecutor John Ransom made an application that Cowie be declared a dangerous criminal because of a long history of violent offending, particularly against women. Such a declaration allows the prisoner to be held indefinitely.
Cowie pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated armed robbery while armed with scissors or a knife causing bodily harm on September 20, 2020. A 19-year-old woman was working alone at the Juice Bar fifty five in Park St about 4.15pm on a Sunday.
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Ransom said the woman weighed just 53 kilograms at the time and was working casually during a gap year before starting studies in 2021 in Melbourne.
Cowie, who had taken ice shortly before, entered quietly and asked her for a pen and paper which she provided. Mr Ransom related a statement she made to police. She said he seemed a bit off or a bit manic and made her feel uneasy.
She told police that without warning he lunged at her. "He did it quite quickly with one big lunging movement," she told police. She fought back as he grabbed her and pushed her towards a store room.
"I started screaming and tried not to fight back because it was making him more angry," Mr Ransom related.
"He threw me down in the store room and yelled he wanted my stomach.'
She said that things went very fuzzy but she could remember him slicing or hitting her in the face.
"When I came to I was on my back and he said shut up of I'll f---ing kill you," Mr Ransom related.
Cowie punched her in the face.
He used the scissors to lever open the till and escaped with $150, an $1500 Apple Ipad and also took the woman's car keys and stole her Hyundai Getz.
The first witness to arrive saw a woman screaming with a large cut that was bleeding heavily and whose face was swollen on both sides.
Mr Ransom said the woman suffered a broken jaw, broken nose, a wound to her left cheek, bruising to the face, multiple bruises to her right and left elbows and bruising and abrasions to her legs.
She required plastic surgery and required two teeth to be removed. A brain bleed developed shortly after hospitalisation, which required transfer to the Royal Hobart Hospital intensive care unit.
The woman later identified Cowie via a photoboard. Police located the scissors and when they found Cowie at Legana he was wearing a pair of trackpants stained with her blood.
Mr Ransom said it was an extreme case of aggravated armed robbery.
"He stabbed before there was any demand and then violently punched her causing extensive injuries," he said.
Cowie sat in the dock with his body and head angled away from the victim and her family prompting defence counsel Fran McCracken to say that his presentation showed he was ashamed of his behaviour.
"He accepts that it would have been an incredibly distressing event," she said.
Mr Ransom read a victim impact statement which detailed significant physical, psychological, emotional and financial effects on her life.
"I have trouble sleeping and struggle to enjoy the activities I used to," the statement read.
"I am always looking over my shoulder and the pleasure of going for a walk has been taken away because of fear of being attacked again."
She was forced to turn down a $24,000 scholarship and delay university studies.
Mr Ransom said Cowie was released on parole just two months before the attack.
Ms McCracken said Cowie was institutionalised after spending most of his adult life in jail.
Justice Pearce sought the report and remanded Cowie in custody for sentence on July 20 at 4.15pm
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