To view original article click here
September 08, 2011
LIBERAL senator Mary Jo Fisher was taking anti-depressants and was seeing a psychiatrist at the time she was arrested for shoplifting, a court has heard.
Senator Fisher’s trial in the Adelaide Magistrates Court was also told she had admitted her offending to the arresting officer.
Senior Constable Gareth Brown told how he had conducted an interview with Senator Fisher at an Adelaide supermarket in December last year after being called by store management.
He told the senator it had been alleged that she had left the store with some items she had not paid for.
“She said, ‘It’s true’,” Const Brown said today/
The officer said Senator Fisher also told him that she had left the store only to get some extra money after realising she did not have enough cash to pay for her groceries.
Const Brown said she also told him that while she had bank cards with her she could not remember the pin numbers.
The officer said he then asked Senator Fisher if she was taking any medication and she replied “anti-depressants” but that she could not remember their names.
In cross-examination, defence counsel Michael Abbott, QC, suggested to the arresting officer that his client had indicated that she had seen a psychiatrist four times leading up to the incident.
Mr Abbott said Senator Fisher also told the police officer that she had changed her medication recently and that the change had “affected her”.
Senator Fisher, 48, has pleaded not guilty to stealing $92.92 worth of food from a Foodland store at suburban Frewville on December 15 and to assaulting the store’s security guard.
In earlier evidence today the court heard that she had been acting “odd” before the alleged offences.
Security guard Cathryn Groot said she saw Senator Fisher place a number of items from her shopping trolley on the floor of the supermarket.
The senator then returned some items to the trolley and kept some in her hands, the guard said.
The groceries in the trolley were packed in such a way that suggested the senator was about to do “something dishonest”, Ms Groot said.
Mr Abbott queried Ms Groot as to whether it appeared to be very odd behaviour when the senator placed the groceries on the floor of the store.
Ms Groot agreed and said: “It indicated to me that she was going to do something dishonest.”
Senator Fisher was subsequently accused of paying only for the items in her hands and not for the items in her trolley.
Mary Jo Fisher has been a senator since being elected in 2007 following the resignation of Howard government frontbencher Amanda Vanstone.
Senator Fisher made headlines in March when she danced the Hokey Pokey and The Time Warp in the upper house to mock the government’s policy on climate change.
The trial will continue tomorrow with Mr Abbott to make submissions in a bid to have Ms Groot’s evidence ruled inadmissible.