A father and son have been found guilty of assaulting a police officer in Pilliga, on the morning of April 9, 2019.
The hearing was held at Wee Waa Local Court where magistrate George Breton said assaulting a police officer was an act that ‘can never be condoned and must always be condemned’ and is a serious matter.
It is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ jail.
The 44-year-old father was sentenced in Narrabri Local Court on Friday and given an eight-month intensive corrections order for assaulting the senior constable during the execution of his duty and occasioning actual bodily harm.
An IOC is a term of imprisonment that is served out within the community rather than behind bars.
His 18-year-old son was sentenced in Wee Waa Local Court on Thursday and given a 10-month community corrections order for assaulting the senior constable occasioning actual bodily harm.
Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges relating to the assault and use of offensive language.
Magistrate Breton dismissed charges relating to the use of offensive language.
He said that a video presented as evidence showed, “Every second word being said by anyone that was there was an expletive (with the exception of two people).
“That takes it out of the realm of being offensive.”
The pair will also need to adhere to other conditions including an Apprehended Violence Order that was issued to protect the officer and his family.
The court heard that the incident occurred outside a café on Dangar Street, Pilliga a few hours after a relative of the defendants took possession of a vehicle without permission.
“He accessed a fire truck at Pilliga Rural Fire Service and severely injured himself, this created concerns for everybody involved,” magistrate Breton told the court
The senior constable was not rostered on for duty the day of the incident but responded to an inquiry about the fire truck that meant ‘he was recalled for duty’.
Magistrate Breton said ‘there was no doubt’ the father and son knew the senior constable was a police officer.
Magistrate Breton said there is some dispute about what happened outside the café but said that there was a ‘scuffle’ or ‘certainly a fight’ involving six or seven people.
Mobile phone footage of part of the incident was presented to the court in evidence but magistrate Breton said it was ‘not perfectly clear, shadows provide some difficulty in seeing who is who and who is doing what’.
“To be absolutely honest it doesn’t add much,” he said.
In evidence, the court was also shown photos of the injuries suffered by the senior constable including bruising to his face.
His wife, who witnessed the incident, gave evidence describing her husband’s injuries as well as detailing how she tried to help him.
“I jumped in an tried to get him (the accused) off.
“I ended up on the ground,” she said.
“He (the senior constable) had cuts under his eyes, his glasses were squashed into his head,” she told the court.
“He had a red welt around his neck, a torn t-shirt and a cut on his hand.”
Magistrate Breton found that the senior constable had ‘sustained injuries’ after the attack that he described as ‘essentially unprovoked’.
He said that the photos taken of the senior constable after the incident proved he had been assaulted.
During sentencing, magistrate Breton recognised the ‘heightened tensions’ of the day and said that the defendants were ‘terribly upset’ after their relative accessed a fire truck without permission and injured himself.
However, he said the senior constable ‘ became the victim and involved in a way he never expected’.
The 44-year-old father was also found guilty of intimidation with the intent of causing fear or physical harm in relation to his actions towards another person, not the senior constable, on the day of the incident and he was handed a 12-month community corrections order for the offence.
The 18-year-old son also faced one charge of possessing a prohibited drug, he pleaded guilty to the offence and the charge was dismissed.
The 18-year-old’s lawyer told the court that the man had grown up in Dubbo and moved to Pilliga in year 8.
At school he was diagnosed with ADHD but when he left school, last year, at the end of year 11 he stopped taking the medication.
The court heard he smoked cannabis to ‘calm down’.
“A drug of that description will never help you.
Prescribed drugs, by a doctor, are what will get you out of the spiral,” said magistrate Breton.