Student who ‘punched four hijab-wearing strangers because she hates Muslims’ has assault charges dropped because of mental illness

A student who punched four Muslim women in the face as they walked near Sydney’s inner-city University of Technology has had assault charges dismissed.

Maria Claudia Gimenez Dami Wilson, whose Facebook page is filled with anti-Muslim and extreme right-wing posts, was originally charged with crimes police considered ‘bias-motivated’.

The 39-year-old allegedly told police she was motivated by a hatred of Muslims when she attacked four hijab-wearing women aged 18 to 23 at Ultimo on May 10.


She was still posting violent anti-Muslim statements and images to Facebook only hours before fronting court on Thursday.

Wilson, who describes herself as a journalism student from Paraguay, was charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of common assault.

One of Wilson’s victims, Hanan Merheb, posted on Facebook that she had been walking along the street listening to music when she was punched for no reason.

‘I crossed the light off Harris Street, walked past the UTS Loft, staring absentmindedly ahead of me when some lady came up to me and punched me in the face,’ Ms Merheb wrote.

‘She didn’t speak to me, didn’t run away, she just punched me and walked off, as casually as if she had just come to say hello.’

At her first court appearance Wilson said ‘the only thing I did was to take a bull cut to a Muslim lady.’

‘I don’t see any problem with that.’

When the matter went to hearing at Downing Centre Local Court in June all charges were dismissed under Section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act.

That decision was revealed on Thursday when Wilson was back in the same court charged with another assault on a man at Botany, south of Sydney, two months before the attacks on the Muslim women.

The earlier assault had merely been a ‘slap’, the court heard.

Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson said Wilson had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

‘The behaviour was so erratic it really does support the findings of the various doctors in relation to the diagnosis,’ Ms Atkinson said.

‘As I understand it this is something that doesn’t come and go.’

Ms Atkinson was concerned that Wilson had already had several matters handled under mental health provisions. She also noted the earlier assault should have been dealt with before the attacks on the Muslim women.

‘She clearly has very significant health issues,’ Ms Atkinson said.

‘Nevertheless when I weigh up all of the matters I am satisfied it is appropriate to deal with it under Section 32.’

Wilson was ordered to continue a treatment plan under which she is required to maintain contact with a mental health case manager, take monthly anti-psychotic injections and consult a psychiatrist.

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