Linda Finlay called emergency services 25 times in 10 days | Mercury of Illawarra

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A magistrate has blasted a Woonona woman for making more than 25 ‘unnecessary’ calls to Triple 0 over 10 days during the pandemic where frontline workers were pushed to their limits. Linda Finlay, 69, appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Monday where she pleaded guilty to two counts of making false calls to emergency services and damaging property in June last year. Magistrate Michael O’Brien said making false calls was “not a victimless crime”. Read more: How Illawarra hospitals will be affected by Tuesday’s nurses’ strike He cited the recent case of a young couple who were unable to get an ambulance while the woman was in labor because they weren’t There were none available and she had to deliver the child outside of the hospital. Magistrate O’Brien said the emergency services were underfunded, underfunded and staff were overstretched. He said Finlay had “snatched resources away from people who needed them”. The court heard that Finlay, who suffered from mental health issues and alcoholism, repeatedly phoned Triple 0 with “trivial or nonsensical questions”. She had been charged more than 15 times and served time in prison. Finlay repeatedly told paramedics and police that her neighbor was “harassing” her, but police did not find the allegations credible. She would sometimes agree to treatment, but other times not. On June 20, Finlay called Triple 0 at 3:56 a.m., 5:55 a.m., 6:34 a.m., and 7:23 a.m. to tell the operators that her neighbor was verbally abusing her. When officers arrived at around 7.45am and spoke to her, she was intoxicated and was warned that if she continued to call emergency services without a valid reason, she could be arrested and charged. Finlay called back three more times stating that she feared going to jail. Police and paramedics arrived and determined she had no reason to contact emergency services until she received a court summons. She called Triple 0 five more times that morning after the agents left. The next day, Finlay called Triple 0 and made baseless claims that she had been assaulted and fell due to her level of intoxication. Paramedics arrived and were taken to hospital but refused treatment and left. A few hours later, she called an operator again to inform her that she had been taken to hospital that morning. She called twice more to say her neighbor was bullying her. The police arrived after she called back but she refused to open the door. On June 22, Finlay called Triple 0 three times, then twice on June 27, once on June 28, and on June 29 she was taken to hospital after threatening to harm herself. On June 30, after being released from the hospital, Finlay again called emergency services to claim that her neighbor was swearing at her, kicking and assaulting her and was inside her unity. Police and paramedics were deployed and within minutes two neighbors called Triple 0 to allege Finlay was knocking on their doors, shouting and screaming. Police arrived at Finlay’s apartment where she was intoxicated and there was a strong smell of feces coming from her apartment. She was on the phone with a Triple 0 operator at the time. She gave vague answers when asked why she called the emergency services and claimed she ‘didn’t like’ her neighbor, who scared her. Officers determined she had no legitimate reason to call Triple 0 and she was arrested and taken to Wollongong Police Station where she was charged. In court yesterday, defense barrister Muhammad Badarne said his client suffered from mental health issues including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said Finlay, due to his mental conditions, felt worried and called the police and was scared after being allegedly stalked from a previous relationship. Mr Badarne said Finlay had reconnected with friends and family and had recently quit drinking after consuming “excessive alcohol” to treat himself. He said she was sorry for the calls and acknowledged they were “unnecessary and a waste of time”. Mr Badarne said her rehabilitation prospects were much better now as she had ‘learned her lesson’ and ‘changed her life’. Police prosecutor Sergeant David Weaver said the court could not be confident Finlay had an “epiphany of wrongdoing” because she made false calls to emergency services for 20 years. He cited her criminal record where she was charged in 2002 for making false calls. “It’s appalling that she made fake calls to emergency services when there were so many people in need,” adding that she “still didn’t get the message.” Magistrate O’Brien ordered a sentencing report and warned he had to consider whether Finlay would serve a custodial sentence in prison or in the community. The case was adjourned to April 5. Download the Illawarra Mercury news app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

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