Dubbo assault of police, suspended jail term for offender

Police officers from Dubbo who were called out to “save” a young man “from himself” were assaulted in the line of duty.

The 19-year-old refused their directions, before biting a constable and grabbing hold of his gun.

He threw a punch, leaving the constable with a laceration to the face, and kicked out at all four officers.

The teen faced Dubbo Local Court where he pleaded guilty to five charges, the most serious of which was assaulting an officer causing actual bodily harm.

Magistrate Paul Hayes sentenced the man to a seven-month jail term, suspended on the condition he serve a good behaviour bond.

Mr Hayes said police played “an important role in the community” and that the Local Court supported their endeavours.

But the court also accepted there was a reduction in the man’s moral culpability due to the circumstances of the matter.

About 2.40am on March 10 police were called to an address in central Dubbo due to the offender making threats and attempts to self-harm with a knife, court documents show.

Police with good intentions were trying to save [the man] from himself.

The defence lawyer

The man, who was outside, was directed by them to stop multiple times, but he did not.

When he began to scale a 2.5-metre high fence police intercepted him, resulting in them wrestling on the ground.

The man bit a constable’s hand, then grabbed his gun.

When a first forearm strike failed to release the offender’s hand, a second one was dealt out.

It worked, but the 19-year-old then swung his fist, striking the constable’s eye, and causing a laceration that bled.

The man was brought under control and placed in handcuffs, but then tried to escape police.

Before the incident was over he had kicked all four constables.

In court on Wednesday the defence conceded alcohol was “an underlying factor”.

The offender had completed Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT), a program for defendants with substance abuse problems to work towards rehabilitation.

The MERIT report to the court, as well as the man himself, told of mental health issues, the solicitor said.

“Police with good intentions were trying to save [the man] from himself,” the solicitor said.

The defence submitted some general deterrence was needed, but asked the court to err on the side of leniency.

The actual bodily harm inflicted was on the lower end of the scale, the solicitor said.

The police prosecutor noted the maximum penalty of the charge was five years in jail if dealt with in a higher court.

He said while the offence was at the lower end of the scale, it was not the lowest.

He cited a relevant judgement and said assaulting police carried a higher maximum penalty than other assaults.

The magistrate rejected a defence submission that the threshold for jail had not been crossed. 

In sentencing the offender, Mr Hayes praised him for completing MERIT.

He said the assault occasioning actual bodily harm was “extremely serious”.

The offender was also convicted of three assault officer in execution of duty charges, and ordered to enter into 18-month good behaviour bonds.

The man was also convicted of three unrelated matters from Coonabarabran and directed to serve good behaviour bonds.