Joel McIlroy: Home and Away star takes a look at the iconic show while speaking to a judge as he appears in court accused of smashing a truck window with a cricket bat
A former Home and Away star joked about the TV show while in court over a road rage incident.
Joel McIlroy, who played Flynn Saunders, the husband of Kate Ritchie’s character Sally, in Home and Away between 2003 and 2006, appeared at Downing Center Local Court on Wednesday where the charge of destruction of property was dropped for mental health reasons.
The former actor, who now suffers from a terminal brain disease, accidentally smashed a truck window with a cricket bat at Surry Hills in Sydney on July 6, with Magistrate Christine Hackett ruling that his condition – Huntington’s disease – had caused him to “act suddenly”. .
Mr McIlroy’s lawyer told the court his client was an actor on the hit Australian television series.
Magistrate Hackett said he “didn’t really watch Home and Away”, to which Mr McIlroy replied: “I don’t blame you”.
Joel McIlroy appeared at Downing Center Local Court on Wednesday, where the charge of destruction of property was dropped on mental health grounds.
The court heard the former TV star had been battling Huntington’s disease since 2007, a hereditary condition that causes parts of the brain to deteriorate and gradually die.
Mr McIlroy’s diagnosis had led to a sudden outburst after he became furious when two drivers got into a road rage incident.
His lawyer told the court that “(when) he perceives injustice, it triggers him.”
Mr McIlroy had bought the cricket bat shortly before the incident as a birthday present for the son of a deceased friend.
Tapping on the window of one of the vehicles caused it to “shatter”, immediately leaving Mr McIlroy remorseful and offering to pay for the damage.
“The sad reality of this disease is that there are failings,” Mr McIlroy’s lawyer told the court.
“it’s degenerative, it’s inflexible.”
The court also heard that Mr McIlroy had not been put under pressure for repayment as a warrant had now been issued for the truck driver’s arrest over a separate incident.
The former actor revealed he plans to continue his career beyond Home and Away, just like Chris Hemsworth, Heath Ledger and Isla Fisher.
He was at the height of his popularity just a year before his diagnosis, nominated for a Silver Logie in 2006.
“I always wanted to be in the theater performing classics, but I wasn’t really good enough,” Mr McIlroy told the court.
“I had this diagnosis hanging over me.”
His lawyer told the court he had never read a “more favorable police information sheet” than his client’s.
Mr McIlroy is famous for his role as Flynn Saunders, the husband of Kate Ritchie’s character (both pictured), Sally, on Home and Away between 2003 and 2006.
The illness hampers his impulse control, leading him to accidentally smash a truck window with a cricket bat.
Mr McIlroy had previous assault charges also dismissed under the Mental Health Act after he attacked a female undercover police officer on October 22, 2019.
The strength of his medication had doubled shortly before the attack, further reducing his impulse control.
While facing the assault charges, the court heard that Mr McIlroy suffered from “significant cognitive impairment” in 2013 and that by the end of 2019, “all of his healthcare professionals noted a large and significant decline in cognitive flexibility.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles noted that Mr McIlroy’s doctors “estimate the emergence or diagnosis of death by a progressive decline in physical condition and mental functioning”.
“They estimate about 10 years for the accused, with five odd years in care.”