One tragedy’s trickle effect on a Rocky family
THE delayed diagnosis of a Rockhampton man in 2013 has had a long lasting impact on his family, with one of his younger siblings turning to drugs at 14 years old to cope.
Jamie Manuele went to Rockhampton Hospital in August 2013, complaining of an acute headache and left-side weakness.
Four days later he was transferred to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, where he suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery to relieve pressure in his brain.
He regained some brain activity but remained bed ridden for the next five years.
Read more here: 'A good battle': Man who won $10m hospital payout dies
His brother, Don-Geoffrey Wylie O'Mara, pleaded guilty on September 28, 2020, in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to 28 charges including possessing drugs, driving unlicensed, assault occasioning bodily harm, enter dwelling, obstruct police, stealing and wilful damage.
Defence lawyer Jack Blackburn said O'Mara was on a football scholarship at St Brendan's College before his brother Jamie suffered the heart attack which left him permanently disabled.
He said O'Mara was only 14 or 15 at the time and didn't handle it well, turning to the drugs methamphetamines and marijuana.
Mr Blackburn said of O'Mara's siblings - four brothers and one sister - he was the second youngest.
He said one of his brothers's - Joshua - and O'Mara suffered from schizophrenia.
Mr Blackburn said Jamie's death in 2018 "reopened wounds" and within a year, O'Mara's diagnosis became Paranoia Schizophrenia.
Police prosecutor Madison Kurtz said one of the incidents from the two-year crime spree involved unlawfully entering his father's house, falling asleep on a bed and punching his father many times in the face after being woken up by him.
He also threw his father over a bed and into wooden drawers, where his father hit his cheek bone.
While O'Mara was in custody for the trespass incident, he was taken to Rockhampton Hospital as he had consumed a large quantity of drugs.
Ms Kurtz said that at 8.25am on May 1, 2019, O'Mara woke up and was told by police he was under arrest for assault occasioning bodily harm and he needed to be examined by mental health staff.
She said O'Mara was examined by mental health staff who left to contact his current mental health carers.
Ms Kurtz said the defendant became agitated by the circumstances and asked police to assist him with coffee and drinks, but was told he had to get permission from health staff first.
She said there had been some delay in the return of mental health staff and O'Mara attempted to get to his wallet and tobacco which had been placed on the nursing station counter but he was told by the clinical nurse shift supervisor he could not have access to those items.
Ms Kurtz said the defendant became agitated at 9am, approached the counter and grabbed the bag containing his wallet and tobacco.
She said staff told him he could not take items without permission and police told him he could only go out for a smoke if his hands and legs were shackled, which O'Mara then argued with them about.
A middle ground was reached between police and O'Mara but the nurse said O'Mara had to wait for permission from the doctor.
A staff member told him he could not roll a smoke in the hospital. Multiple requests were made for the defendant to hand over the bag and he was eventually advised he was under arrest for obstructing police and to get to the ground and roll over.
Ms Kurtz said police attempted to place him in handcuffs but he pulled away.
"He was very strong and despite eventually being handcuffed on one hand, he was resistant to all demands," she said.
Ms Kurtz said it was only due to staff holding onto O'Mara's legs that police were able to restrain and handcuff him, but had to resort to a neck restraint before he would place his hands behind his back.
She said both officers received minor injuries during the struggle.
O'Mara was moved to a cubicle and a second crew arrived.
At 10.30am, he was cleared by the mental health unit and O'Mara was informed he would be taken to the watch-house.
Ms Kurtz said O'Mara refused, saying he wanted to see a different psychiatrist or his mental health case worker.
O'Mara sat on the floor and refused to get up, resulting in police having to drag him out for which he was charged with another obstruct police offence.
"He continued to lay flat on the floor and refused to get up," Ms Kurtz said.
"The constables attempted to lift him up but he prevented them from doing so by lying stiff on the floor.
"He was asked to stand up by police as they did not want to drag him or hurt him, but he refused."
She said security staff assisted, lifting O'Mara onto a bed and wheeling him out to the police van.
While being wheeled out, O'Mara again dropped to the ground and had to be physically lifted into the van by police and security staff.
O'Mara was taken to the watch-house but had to be returned to the hospital at 11am to have something removed.
Again, he refused to stand up and walk to the police van, was again charged with obstruct police and again physically lifted up and carried to the police van.
He resistant behaviour continued at the hospital and back at the watch-house.
Another incident involved the police finding O'Mara in a lounge room with 12g of marijuana and O'Mara being incoherent so he was transported to hospital.
On March 18, 2018, O'Mara attended the police station to report as part of bail conditions, but breached by having contact with person he was banned by court from seeing - a woman who was in his car when he drove to the station.
He breached the same bail condition when he visited the woman on April 11, 2018, at 12.55pm. O'Mara told police he was there to see his child, however, his mother said O'Mara had been sleeping with the woman in the loungeroom.
O'Mara was intercepted riding a motorcycle on September 1, 2019, with the registration plates attached being subject to an immobilisation order and were incorrect to the vehicle, plus the registration of the bike had expired.
He was also intercepted driving a ute on Ellis St on July 24, 2020, at 5.35pm with no driver's licence.
Then on August 8, at 5.30pm, police found a broken down Toyota Corolla on Emu Park Rd with O'Mara telling police a friend had driven the vehicle and had got a lift, but later changed his version saying one of his brother's drove the vehicle.
On August 24, he and a co-offender stole $70 worth of items from Rebel Sports.
On September 3, 2020, he threw a rock at a car and smashed the windscreen.
O'Mara received a 15 month prison term for the assault on his father and had 146 days presentence custody declared with immediate parole.
He also received fines totalling $2,750 and a seven month driving disqualification.
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