Perth magistrate accepts naked man with replica gun was not a threat

A Perth judge has accepted post-traumatic stress from years in detention as an explanation for the actions of a naked man who sent downtown Perth into lockdown when he climbed to the top of a billboard holding a replica gun.

In Court today, Sayeed Mehman, 38, pleaded guilty to being armed in public in a way that caused fear.

On July 17, Mehman climbed on top of a large billboard in the Perth CBD, stripped naked and paraded up and down with a replica handgun.

Police locked down the area while commuter trains were also halted until negotiators persuaded Mehman to drop the gun and come down.

Mehman's lawyer Belinda Lonsdale told the court her client was mentally ill but was not a danger to society.

"`Clearly he didn't intend to cause anybody any harm," Ms Lonsdale said.

She said Mehman suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after spending four years in an immigration detention centre.

The court was told Mehman is originally from Iran and fled to Malaysia when he ran into trouble with authorities in his homeland.

In Malaysia, he met some people smugglers and came to Australia in 2000.

Ms Lonsdale said Mehman had been suffering from nightmares and on the morning of the billboard incident had woken up from one about his time in detention.

She said he was genuinely remorseful for the effect his actions had on the city and said he had spent some time in a mental institution since his arrest.

Chief Magistrate Steven Heath said Mehman has caused "serious disruption" to the city but commended the police for their handling of the situation.

"This is without a question a serious offence, albeit the accused had no intention or ability to cause harm with a replica gun," he said.

The chief magistrate said it was important to consider a psychiatric report on Mehman's mental health before sentencing him.

The report concluded that Mehman had depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress from his treatment in Iran and as a refugee in Australia.

Mehman was sentenced to an 18-month community based order.

(Published by Herald Sun - October 7, 2010)

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