Cops fired shots at a former Gladstone man Zachariah Hewitt who later told police he thought they were criminals attacking him.
Cops fired shots at a former Gladstone man Zachariah Hewitt who later told police he thought they were criminals attacking him. Police

Maccas ram raider thought cops were crims attacking him

A MAN involved in a ram raid shooting incident in a McDonald's carpark in Mackay in 2016 thought he was being attacked by criminals, not police.

Zachariah John Hewitt, 27, pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court yesterday to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

The charge was laid after Hewitt knocked two police officers with his car, reversed into another car and hit a brick wall trying to evade arrest in the Mount Pleasant McDonald's carpark on the morning of August 5.

The court heard Hewitt had been the subject of a return to prison warrant when intelligence received led police to set up an opportunity to apprehend him at the fast-food outlet.

Hewitt was boxed in by customer vehicles and two police driven vehicles in the carpark. Hewitt collided with one of the police vehicles and then reversed into a customer's car.

One police officer ran towards Hewitt yelling "this is the police, stop". Hewitt drove at the officer, knocking him off balance.

A second police officer ran at Hewitt yelling "stop, this is the police". Hewitt drove at this officer, knocking him onto another vehicle so hard the officer's gun damaged the windscreen.

Hewitt then reversed into a concrete wall before a third officer shot at Hewitt's vehicle in an attempt to shoot out the tyres.

Judge Michael Burnett, while handing down the sentence, noted in the statement Hewitt made to police that the officers were not wearing clothing that identified them as police officers.

"You told police you thought you were being attacked by criminals," he said.

Hewitt fled the scene after the shots were fired, but called his solicitor and then handed himself into police at Rockhampton at a later date.

The court heard Hewitt had breached parole, which led to the warrant being issued.

He had been sentenced to a two-year prison term in December 2015 and had served eight months before being released on parole.

At the time of sentencing yesterday, he had served 21 months of the 24-month term ordered in 2015.

Judge Burnett noted Hewitt's disadvantaged childhood - "a particularly unsettled life" - which included his father being placed in custody and his mother "taking off".

"It would seem your progression to prison was an inevitable progression given your disadvantaged upbringing," he said.

Judge Burnett sentenced Hewitt to a 15 month prison term with immediate parole eligibility to be served cumulative of the 24-month sentence he is currently serving. He will be eligible for parole for the two-year sentence on September 1.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years, with Judge Burnett noting Hewitt's criminal history suggested Hewitt has never held a drivers licence.



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