Judge’s concerns for 'paranoid' accused mum killer
A judge considering a bail application for a man charged with the manslaughter of his mother has expressed concerns about his paranoia, drug use and obsession with a gun.
Supreme Court Justice Soraya Ryan adjourned the bail application for Christian Dino Lawlor in order for him to have a mental health assessment.
Lawlor wanted to get bail to return to live with his family and attend the funeral of the mother whom he is charged with unlawfully killing, by gunshot.
Police allege an initial call for help was to paramedics, who were reportedly told the woman had suffered from a medical episode.
It is further alleged that in the following days a medical examination revealed a bullet was located lodged inside or near the woman's heart.
Defence counsel, James Goldbolt, said Lawlor left the disassembled gun in the garage of the family home, with a live round still in the chamber, after cleaning it on the day before the fatal shooting.
Mr Goldbolt said it was believed Lawlor's mother must have moved the bag containing the gun from the garage to the laundry.
He said Lawlor had been hurrying to leave for a family lunch and unknown to everyone in the house the .22 calibre gun had discharged.
The autopsy revealed a bullet was recovered from Mrs Lawlor's chest cavity.
"It's an absolutely tragic sequence of events," Mr Goldbolt said.
He proposed bail conditions that included Lawlor having a mental health plan and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Mr Goldbolt said Lawlor's father had indicated his support for his son and Lawlor's sister was in court for the bail application.
"What concerns me is the evidence that comes from his father, of his behaviour on the 26th of April, when he was paranoid that there were drones in the area," Justice Ryan said.
"He's then got that rifle that he's managed to persuade his father to give him.
"He and his Mum go outside to look for drones and his father hides the rifle under the couch and hides the bullets in a safe.
"Then the father hides from him, which conveys a lot about (Lawlor's) state, knowing that he reacts quite badly to the gun being hidden. "
"When the applicant finds that his father has hidden the gun he threatens to bash him.
"The Dad has hidden away from the house, in contact with the Mum over the phone, who says the applicant is going off his brain.
"She just wants to give him the gun.
"The father is so scared that he doesn't go home that night.
"And when he finally does go home to the Taigum house the applicant and the rifle are gone."
The Crown opposed bail, saying there was a risk that Lawlor could interfere with witnesses, including family members who were at the house on the day of the fatality.
The court was told he had a "somewhat volatile" relationship with his family, particularly his father, and forensic examinations were continuing.
Lawlor had carelessly handled, secured and stored a loaded firearm, counsel for the Crown said.
Justice Ryan said she did not consider that she had enough information about Lawlor's current mental health state to make a bail decision.
She said Lawlor had asked to be bailed to return to live with his family in circumstances where there was evidence of his paranoia, some sort of obsession with his gun and of him discharging it in a public park and of his use of methamphetamines and Xanax.
The judge said there was also much more ammunition found than was provided to him by his father.
Justice Ryan said she was particularly concerned about returning a person with what appeared to be a dangerously unstable mental state to his family.
"I just don't know how stable he is at the moment...Things might trigger behaviours."
She adjourned the application to a date to be fixed.
Lawlor is also charged with possession of methamphetamines, possession of a category A rimfire rifle, possession of ammunition and possession of a telescopic baton.
Originally published as 'Paranoid, gun obsessed': Judge's concerns for accused mum killer