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Man says jury must be discharged after Bondi stabbings

An NSW man who killed his sister while in a psychotic state asked a jury to be discharged because of the horrific stabbings that unfolded in Bondi Junction’s Westfield and a church in Wakeley.

user iconNaomi Neilson 02 May 2024 Big Law

James Patterson. Source: Facebook.

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Deniliquin man Jason Raymond Patterson, 35, assaulted his sister with a hatchet and set her body on fire but was not found criminally responsible because mental health experts agreed he was impaired at the time and did not understand what he was doing was wrong.

The Supreme Court was told Patterson was a long-time drug user and has since been diagnosed with either substance-induced psychotic disorder, schizophrenia or schizophreniform.

On the day he attacked and killed his sister “in a brutal fashion”, Patterson believed she was being possessed by demons.


Prior to the jury’s finding, Patterson’s legal team made an application to discharge the jury due to concerns about how he may be viewed after Joel Cauchi stabbed and killed six people in Bondi Junction.

The stabbings, which also left a further 12 people injured and ended in Cauchi being shot dead, happened during Patterson’s trial.

His lawyers said there were a number of “common features” that may make a jury less sympathetic, including “the use of a weapon; the fact that the victims were largely women and certainly it appears that women were in the Bondi Junction event targeted; that the events occurred against a background of a perpetrator with a mental illness”.

Patterson’s lawyers added the stabbing of a priest by a 15-year-old at a Wakeley church “add to a general concern”.

While Justice Hament Dhanji acknowledged the similarities in the fatal incidents, he said they were a “substantially different quality”.

“Whilst it is true the victim of the attack was a woman, it is not suggested that the accused targeted her based on her gender.

“Rather, it was an attack on his sister, a person he loved and with whom he was living, based on his belief that she was possessed by demons,” Justice Dhanji said in his written judgment.

Justice Dhanji added it would not be fair to the jury to take the “overly sensitive approach” and assume the two separate stabbing events would mean they would be less sympathetic to Patterson.

“It would suggest a lack of trust in the jury, which, in my view, would be to do them a disservice,” Justice Dhanji said.

“Indeed, at a time when the community is affected, there is a strong argument for the continued engagement of the community through the jury system in cases such as the present.”