AT the peak of New South Wales’ initial COVID-19 lockdown, a drug-affected naked man was arrested in one of the North Coasts’s busiest coastal spots.
John Theodorakopoulos, 46, from Possum Creek, had battled drug abuse, particularly since the 2018 death of his brother and a relationship breakdown, Byron Bay Local Court heard on Monday.
But in the early hours of March 23, he decided to try “magic mushrooms” for the first time.
Believing he was in his motel room, he began acting erratically and removed his clothes in the vicinity of Main Beach, Byron Bay.
According to court documents, police were patrolling the area at the time and when they gave out parking infringements to others nearby, Theodorakopoulos became “abusive” towards officers.
Theodorakopoulos’ lawyer said those closest to him described him as a “gentle, loving and caring” man.
According to court documents, paramedics attended Byron Bay Police Station after Theodorakopoulos was taken into custody.
He was found to be suffering from drug-induced psychosis and he was sedated before being taken to hospital.
Magistrate Karen Stafford accepted there was a “strong link” between his drug use and behaviour.
“You had already been given (intensive corrections orders) in the past for assaulting police and resisting police,” Ms Stafford said.
“There does need to be a sentence that’s going to reflect the harm to the community of your continued offending, particularly when it’s induced by illicit drug use.”
The court heard Theodorakopoulos had previous drug-related offences.
“(This) just shows how often drugs are getting you into trouble,” Ms Stafford said.
“I do think this is a matter where … you really do need to ensure you keep in the path to rehabilitation to ensure the offending will stop.”
Theodorakopoulos was convicted and received a three month ICO for wilful and obscene exposure in a public place and a 12 month ICO for resisting police.
He will have to complete 100 hours of community service and must not drink or take drugs for a year.
Ms Stafford said the harsher penalty for resisting police reflected past offending and the “hardship done to police” during the pandemic.