Glassing Accused Off To NZ For Christmas

Glassing accused off to NZ for Christmas
Tanya Westthorp | December 22nd, 2009 | Gold Coast Bulletin

THE teenager charged with stabbing her best friend in the neck will be free to fly back to New Zealand tomorrow while the glassing victim spends Christmas in hospital undergoing surgery.

The parents of 19-year-old Danielle Armstrong were yesterday frantically opening Australian bank accounts and transferring $20,000 bail money from New Zealand so their daughter could be released from custody to fly back to Auckland with them tomorrow.

While the nursing student will celebrate Christmas in the comfort of her home, her best friend and fellow nursing student, Tracy Edmonds, will spend it on the operating table trying to repair extensive nerve damage caused during an alleged argument between the pair last week.

Ms Edmonds was rushed to Gold Coast Hospital last Thursday night after she was allegedly struck with a wine glass by Ms Armstrong at the Azzurra Hotel in Surfers Paradise about 10pm.

She suffered a 10cm deep gash to her neck, nerve damage to her neck and chest, cuts to her eyebrow, has no feeling in her neck and required 30 stitches.

She will also undergo surgery at PA Hospital to repair the nerve damage.

Yesterday, Southport Magistrates Court heard Ms Armstrong acted in self-defence.

Defence lawyer Paul Hamilton said the girls got into a heated verbal argument on the balcony of the ninth floor of the hotel.

“My understanding is she has said she was approached by the complainant and pushed out because she thought she was going over the edge,” he said.

Magistrate Gary Finger granted bail despite concerns by the prosecution Ms Armstrong would not return to face court once she was back on New Zealand soil and fears she would ‘interfere with a witness’.

The prosecution said Ms Armstrong had repeatedly asked while in custody ‘what would happen if the complainant did not want to lay charges’.

“She should not be in a situation where she should be punished because she doesn’t live in this country,” argued Mr Hamilton. “She is a young, hardworking woman … her parents said they will ensure her obligations to return to Australia for court.

Magistrate Finger granted bail and set down a committal hearing for July 19, saying ‘my belief is she will return’.

But he released her with a stern warning. “The process of extradition is not a pleasant experience,” he said.

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