Ballarat woman faces court over CBD knife attacks

FILE PIC: Brooke Smith, 18, pleaded guilty to a string of charges in Ballarat Magistrates Court.

FILE PIC: Brooke Smith, 18, pleaded guilty to a string of charges in Ballarat Magistrates Court.

A WENDOUREE woman involved in a series of daylight knife attacks in Ballarat’s CBD carried the weapon for personal safety, a court heard on Thursday. 

Brooke Smith, formerly known as Brooke Pring, 18, pleaded guilty to a string of charges in Ballarat Magistrates Court in relation to three separate incidents that occurred in the space of 10 days. 

The charges included recklessly causing serious injury, possessing a controlled weapon, unlawful assault, possessing methamphetamine and possessing a weapon while on bail. 

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Kilburn said that on March 14 Smith was at Central Square in Ballarat with her sister and friends when they became involved in an argument with another group. 

The court heard Smith produced a Stanley knife from her bra and made a cut under the left eye of one member of the group.

Smith fled the scene but was arrested a short time later. 

During an admission to police, Smith said she carried a knife with her for “personal safety”.  

“I was scared for my own safety,” Smith said. 

The court heard Smith and her friends became involved in an altercation with a security guard at McDonald’s in Bakery Hill on March 20. 

Senior Constable Kilburn said a co-accused had thrown an ice cream at the security guard after he told their group to move on. 

Smith also hit a shift manager on the neck and shoulder when she became involved in the incident. 

After her arrest, police searched the accused and found 0.06 gram of ice and an ice pipe hidden in her underwear. 

Smith was also charged after she stabbed a victim in the right hand, after chasing her down Little Bridge Street and pushing her against a wall on March 24.

Police said Smith and the victim were known to each other. She was later arrested and remanded in custody. 

Defence lawyer Laura Free said Smith had no prior criminal history and had already spent 44 days in an adult remand centre. 

Ms Free said her client lost part of her support network when her uncle died last year. 

“She was experiencing extreme instability,” Ms Free said.

Smith, who appeared via video link, became visibly upset when magistrate Ian Von Einem spoke about the severity of the incident. 

Mr Von Einem adjourned the case until May 22.

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