The policeman placed his hand on Keyen’s arm to guide him, but as they walked Constable Flynn felt a “thud sensation” as Keyen struck his chest.
A second policeman, constable Rankin, tackled Keyne and while the two wrestled, Constable Rankin felt three “impacts” on his right bicep, shoulder and chest.
The officers noticed Keyen had a 20-centimetre knife and asked him several times to drop it. When the student began walking towards Constable Flynn with the knife, the policeman used his Taser.
Keyen fell to the ground but still was waving the knife towards the policemen. After two more Taser cycles, police pried the knife from Keyen’s hands. A third constable assisted to arrest Keyen.
Constable Rankin realised he was bleeding from cut to his shoulder and was taken to Royal North Shore hospital for treatment.
Keyen was admitted to the same hospital where he received a mental health treatment.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an officer on duty and one charge of having a knife in a public place.
During a police interview on September 18, 2019, Keyen said he possessed the knife used in the incident, but he did not remember doing so “due to suffering a significant mental health episode which has been escalating for a number of weeks,” the statement of facts note.
He also brought a letter of apology to the interview which read: “I’m not in the business of making excuses for my actions but I want to tell you one simple thing. I am terribly sorry.
“It is truly not a reflection of my thought process towards you or people like you,” the letter continued. “I’ve been watching the news lately and I notice people in your line of duty progressively keep getting exposed to danger.”
He asked the police officers involved to “find a place in your heart to forgive me”.
Keyen’s lawyer, Daniel Pacem, read his client’s submission to the Downing Centre District Court on Monday in which he said Keyen “does not intend to portray himself as the victim”, but he still “carries trauma” from the incident.
In his submissions, Mr Pace said Keyen’s “youth”, low risk of reoffending and pre-prepared strategies if he were to relapse should be taken into account.
Mr Pace added that reports from two medical specialists drew a link between his client’s mental health and the offences.
The crown prosecutor rejected that Keyen was “young” and “immature”, but rather said he was a well-travelled 24-year-old man. She added that the incident was of mid-range seriousness as a police officer had been injured.
Megan Guenther, who is housing and providing ongoing support to the 25-year-old, said he was “bewildered” the first time they met following the incident.
“[He] didn’t fully understand at that time the consequences of what he had gone through and what was happening,” she said.
Since moving into her house, Ms Guenther said Keyen has become part of the family.
“He’s on the family roster for doing the chores with the kids and participated in all those sorts of things,” she said. “He has changed considerably to be part of the community and part of our household.”
When asked if she thought Keyen posed a threat, Ms Guenther said: “I wouldn’t have him in my house if I thought he was a danger.”
Keyen will return for sentencing on July 24 and remains on bail.
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Laura is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.