A former Home and Away star who repeatedly punched a female police officer has avoided a criminal trial and will be dealt with under the Mental Health Act.
Joel McIlroy, 47, was facing five charges including two for assaulting a police officer on duty in 2019 in Surry Hills, after involving himself "in an incident" which had "absolutely nothing to do with him", magistrate Jennifer Giles said.
Handing down her decision on Wednesday in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, Ms Giles said she really didn't want to grant the Section 32 application but felt it more appropriate given his strong medical network and support.
"It is indeed a very serious incident of gratuitous, wanton, vengeful, probably even sexist violence by the defendant against the police when told by them to mind his own business and go away," she said.
McIlroy was diagnosed with Huntington's disease in 2007, a rare degenerative brain condition.
Medical experts have given him about 10 years left to live, five of which will be in care.
At the time of the assault he was experiencing a significant decline in cognitive flexibility and had fallen into the severe range of depressive symptoms, the court heard.
On October 22 in 2019, McIlroy was wandering down Buckingham Street when he stumbled on two plain-clothed offices making an arrest over drug use.
After the former actor asked the quiet duo sitting in the gutter if they were "OK", he asked the officers to identify themselves.
"How do I know you're police you're not in uniform?", he said, after seeing their badge and warrant cards, the court heard.
Told repeatedly to move on, he barged his shoulder into one constable before punching her head several times.
When the other female officer stepped in a scuffle ensued and he grabbed one officer around the neck and they all felll to the ground.
A concerned bystander witnessing McIlroy on top of one of the women and holding around her neck stepped in to assist.
McIlroy was eventually handcuffed but "childishly" went deadweight and required four officers to lift him into their truck.
"No one pretends the violence wasn't shameful or terrifying for both constables and the poor selfless community-minded gentleman who stepped in to assist the constables," she said.
Ms Giles said it was annoying the mental health application was made by his defence 11 months later, given McIlroy has suffered from Huntington's for over a decade
"In a perfect world the police would not be assaulted and people would not have their brains die at 47," she said.
Ms Giles also pointed to the unusualness of the case, where McIlroy was said to be unfit for cross-examination in the witness box due to his cognitive degeneration.
"This is not a section 32 I wanted to grant, I tried to write the refusal decision most of yesterday," she said.
But after reassurance from medical experts that treatment would preclude further offending, she deemed it appropriate to be dealt with under the act, rather than through the criminal law.