Final chapter in 12-hour siege at Coast beach resort
WITH the proper support and medication, former electrician James Andrew Batchler has proved to be a very insightful and intelligent man.
But a spate of offences born from drug and alcohol abuse, including a 12-hour siege at Alexandra Headland, showed the aggression and destruction of which the 37-year-old was capable.
Nearly three years had passed between Batchler's sentencing in Maroochydore Magistrates Court and the incidents leading up to and including the Grand Palais Beach Resort siege on April 17, 2014.
He was found to be mentally fit to face the charges on Wednesday but Magistrate Rod Madsen took into account psychiatrist's reports which said he was mentally ill at the time.
The court heard he crashed a car into a wall of an underground car park of the resort before going to a unit.
A police officer knocked on his door at 7.25pm in response to complaints about screaming and things being thrown from a balcony.
Batchler walked towards the officer holding with a large shifting spanner saying words to the effect of "I'm going to... kill you".
He then slammed the door shut and the siege began.
A large ashtray, a large pewter mug, electric razor, hair dryer, wooden blinds, clothes and toiletries were among items thrown from a balcony.
Some of the items dented the roof of a Hyundai sedan parked on the street below.
Batchler also threw a glass bowl which hit a police officer in the side of the head.
He yelled that he had a gun and was threatening violence, including threatening to kill a police officer while holding a large knife.
Special Emergency Response Team officers were called and brought the siege to an end about 7.15am the next day.
The former fly-in, fly-out electrician also had to be removed from an aircraft at Gladstone airport on April 12, 2014, for creating a disturbance and swearing at staff on board.
Other offences included telling Alex Surf Club staff members "I hope you die of cancer" after being asked to leave on February 24, 2014.
Defence solicitor Emma Aldersea referred to multiple reports from mental health assessments conducted on Batchler.
Ms Aldersea said Batchler had not committed another offence since the siege.
She said he would not be returning to work as an electrician and instead had started his own business selling responsible energy and zero carbon travel packages.
Batchler's parents were in the public gallery for the sentence.
Mr Madsen said Batchler would have to reduce his reliance on his parents and take care of himself.
He said it was clear that Batchler was substantially affected by his mental health problems at the time of the offending.
Batchler was placed on a three-year probation order.
"You've got to make every post a winner," Mr Madsen said.
Batchler was ordered to pay Grand Palais $500 and the Hyundai owner $1299.65.
He was also banned from Maroochydore and Alexandra Headland licensed venues, unless in the company of his parents, for a year.