What did happen that night?
That fateful Saturday night on the 27 June 2009, Michael was rostered to work at the Refuge, a 24/7 facility staffed by sole shift workers (one of several programs run by On Track Community Programs). The Refuge, located in Wyrallah Road in Lismore, was a short term accommodation facility for those with a mental health disability. Amongst the many duties of the caseworker at the Refuge was the responsibility in managing patient medication.
Z (name withheld) was a long term resident at the Refuge and was in a relationship with David. Each Saturday, David was given an option for an outdoor recreational activity. That Saturday, David’s caseworker had brought him and his girlfriend to Tallow’s Beach near Byron Bay. At the end of the outing, Z was returned to David’s unit as she had been co-habiting there for some days. According to the caseworker, David had felt agitated that day and through his delusions, shared with the caseworker his concerns about losing Z to other men at the Refuge. However, these agitations were not made known to anyone.
That night over at the Refuge, Michael had noticed Z’s absence and whilst difficult to prove, was likely concerned about her need to be medicated, a task he was responsible for. The unit that David occupied was but a 2 minute drive away from the Refuge and Michael brought the medication across with the intention of asking Z if she would like to return to the Refuge that night. Z said “yes”. She had also indicated that she was meant to return to the Refuge that morning. These events were surmised from statements made to the investigating Lismore detective by both David and Z.
David, being a paranoid schizophrenic and highly jealous of other men, was constantly under the delusion that others wanted Z for sex. It did not matter that Michael was gay and was at the unit to simply offer Z any assistance she might have required. An ensuing altercation broke out.