‘Down the toilet’: Judge slams Insta model
Dramatic scenes have played out in court today after glamorous Instagram model Monique Agostino was told her life is "going down the toilet", prompting the woman to make a veiled threat that if she harmed herself in jail it would be a judge's fault.
The tense exchanges between the imprisoned model and veteran magistrate Jacqueline Milledge were sparked after fresh charges were read out against the 23-year-old aspiring beauty influencer.
Charges of possessing methamphetamine, having a knife in a Target store and stealing a jacket have been added to allegations of her role in a masked intruder's robbery spree.
Ms Agostino has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well as five charges relating to an alleged series of break and enters in Sydney's Northern Beaches last November.
In addition, police also alleged in court that Ms Agostino had brought an illegal substance into a prison while she was visiting her incarcerated boyfriend.
The former modelling entrepreneur, whose Instagram page shows her wearing revealing outfits and a Catwoman costume, received a dressing down by Magistrate Milledge, a former deputy state coroner, while applying for bail on the robbery charges.
Told by Ms Milledge she would not be getting out of prison, Ms Agostino began crying and talking over the magistrate about what she might do to herself behind bars.
Ms Agostino suggested if she did harm herself, "it's your fault. I've been suicidal in the past."
A clearly affected Ms Milledge said: "You just said 'it will be on you', what you do will be on me."
After suggesting Ms Agostino should be placed on suicide watch in prison, Ms Milledge left the court saying it was "without ceremony", meaning no-one in the court should rise and bow, as is customary.
When she returned, she relented on making a suicide watch order and placed on Ms Agostino's court papers a notice that she was suffering from "anxiety and depression".
Ms Milledge told the accused she had given her a "fair hearing" for bail and that the young woman could apply for Supreme Court bail and agree to enter a drug rehabilitation facility.
Ms Agostino replied, "I don't need drug rehab", to which Ms Milledge said, "You do what you want to do because clearly all the choices you have been making are working for you."
Ms Agostino had originally been brought up to the court by female prison officers from the cells below to stand in a green jailhouse tracksuit in the dock for a hearing on the alleged break and enter charges.
Her platinum blonde hair drawn up in a high ponytail, Ms Agostino read from pages of her own defence she had prepared in custody since her arrest last Friday.
The accused said she had good excuses for breaches of bail conditions by being late or failing to report to police, and for previous failures to appear in court.
The breaches had resulted in her current remand behind bars.
She said she had once rung up "five times" to say she was running late, and that she had been taunted by police suggesting she was a stripper or an escort.
In a long submission to the court, Ms Agostino said she had breached bail or failed to appear because her parents had thrown her out of home, she had been robbed of all her possessions, she had depression, had got her dates confused, and had broken her ankle.
"I don't accept your reasons," Ms Milledge told Ms Agostino, who had family friends in the court to support her.
"It seems everyone else is responsible for your bad luck.
"Your life is going down the toilet because you are choosing your own lifestyle. I am not going to sit here and have you blame everyone else for your non-attendance and your noncompliance.
"It just does not ring true. You can believe it if you want to and your family can. I don't. Honour your obligations to the court."
Ms Agostino told the court that the methamphetamine possession charge against her related to "0.5 of a gram, not even residue" and the knife charge related to "a tiny little wire cutter, a Stanley knife" she had found cleaning out her car.
Police also alleged in court Ms Agostino has been selling off her property to fund herself fleeing the state.
Posts on Ms Agostino's Facebook page show she has recently put up for sale brown hair extensions, children's shoes and her $11,500 "beloved" white Holden Commodore.
Police prosecutor Sergeant John Sharpin denied officers had taunted Ms Agostino.
He said she had been arrested last Friday in the company of bikies by members of Strike Force Raptor, which investigates outlaw motorcycle gangs.
He said she "by her own admission has been using drugs 'trying to cope'" since she had been out on bail.
He said police would be charging Ms Agostino with possession of the drug GBH, which related to a visit by her to John Morony Correctional Centre at Windsor in far western Sydney.
Ms Agostino told the court she had been visiting her boyfriend at the prison when officers inspected the boot of her car, but all they had found was "a glass pipe … no residue", and she had been charged with possession of the pipe and pleaded guilty.
The court heard Ms Agostino had been remanded in custody after two failures to appear and numerous breaches of bail on five charges related to the alleged robbery spree on November 6 last year.
Police allege she drove a male teenager in her car to rob Pound of Pizza at 1.52am, the House of Fruit store at 1.54am and Le Parisien Cafe at 1.56am, which are all on the same Killarney Heights street.
Police then allege she drove the youth to St Ives' Stanley St Cafe at 2.48am to rob $300 and a Westpac credit card.
CCTV footage was played in court of Ms Agostino allegedly pulling up at a McDonald's drive-through at Brookvale at 3.40am to buy $11.55 of takeaway food using the Westpac card allegedly stolen less than an hour earlier 18km away at the St Ives cafe.
Police alleged the right arm coming out of the driver's car window to pay for the McDonalds bore the same tattoo and ring Ms Agostino did.
Police also allege that on November 24, Ms Agostino broke into the Forestville Bakery, and allegedly stole $1000, in company of another person.
She has pleaded not guilty to two counts of break and enter house or building to steal property valued at less than $60,000, and one count each of break and enter a house or building with intent to steal, of aggravated break and enter a dwelling in company to steal less than $60,000 and of dishonestly obtain property by deception.
She has also pleaded not guilty to possessing .53g ice, being in custody of a knife in Target, possessing a restricted substance, (three diazepam tablets) and stealing a $90 jacket from Supre, all at Blacktown Westfield Shopping Centre in May this year.
Representing herself in a hearing for the five robbery charges today, Ms Agostino told Magistrate Milledge she had a "theory" that other persons had taken her handbag and keys and used her car to commit the alleged offences while she was asleep.
Ms Agostino expounded on her theory during her cross-examination of Senior Constable Mathew Guerrera, the officer in charge of her case.
"This is my theory … I was asleep during this period," she said.
"I was not actually present during these break and enters. Do you not believe there's a possibility someone could have taken my bag and used my keys?"
Constable Guerrera said he had considered it but "did not consider it a reasonable hypothesis.
"At no time did I think someone broke into your room, stole your belongings, committed these offences and gone home and woke you up to drive to McDonald's."
Asked how, "besides the ring and the tattoo" he could identify her as the woman in the CCTV footage at McDonalds, Constable Guerrera said it was Ms Agostino's "facial structure. She has a strong jaw, you can see blonde hair, she has dark eyelashes."
Ms Agostino that "around the same time" of the break and enter offences "I was actually at a wedding in the Hunter Valley".
Refusing Ms Agostino's bail application, Ms Milledge said she had no confidence the accused could comply with bail conditions.
"You are making a lot of wrong choices in your life. You have a lot to offer," Ms Milledge told her.
Ms Agostino said she needed time and space out of jail to sort her life out.
"I am going to start up my own beauty company," she said.
Ms Milledge adjourned the hearing on the alleged break and enter charges and the alleged drug, knife, substance and larceny charges until October 25.
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