Saturday, August 15

Australian in court after ramming US embassy gates

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SYDNEY: A man charged with damaging a diplomatic residence after ramming his car into the gates of the US embassy in Australia was yesterday ordered to undergo a mental health assessment.

Adrian Richardson, 30, appeared in a magistrates court after his arrest for allegedly revving his engine and deliberately crashing into the gates of the American compound in the Australian capital Canberra on Wednesday evening.

US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich was at home at the time, said police, with the bomb squad sent in as a precaution. Nothing suspicious was found.

The Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court heard that Richardson, an Australian, had been staying at a mental health facility but was released just hours earlier, reports said.

Commonwealth prosecutor Katrina Musgrove said security guards at the closely-guarded compound saw Richardson drive past the building before slowing down and doing a U-turn.

He then allegedly switched off his headlights and rammed the gates.

The crash caused damage estimated at Aus$100,000 (US$ 92,000) with Richardson, who was not injured, detained immediately afterwards.

He was ordered to return to the mental health unit for assessment and will face court again at a later date. — AFP