Man bites cop then finds new appreciation for police
A MAGISTRATE has warned a Mackay man not to "bite the hand that feeds you" after he chomped down on a police officer while being arrested.
Magistrate Nerida Wilson's comments came after Mitchell Benn Thompson experienced first-hand the importance of police, when, in a separate incident, he helped officers arrest a man who'd allegedly assaulted his mum and stepdad in their home.
Thompson, 28, faced Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday, pleading guilty to assaulting police, obstructing police, public nuisance and contravening directions on August 20 last year.
He also pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a vehicle - relating to stealing a bus (which was returned) with friends - possessing marijuana,stealing fuel and stealing license plates in November, 2014.
Thompson had been charged with seriously assaulting police, but that was dropped by the prosecution in favour of the downgraded assault charge.
Prosecutor Anna Ellis tendered the agreed facts of the case and said Thompson's criminal record included seriously assaulting police causing bodily harm and common assault in 2013 and assault occasioning bodily harm in 2012.
While discussing the facts, defence barrister Antoinette Morton said the charges from August 20 originated from Thompson drinking with friends in a unit at Rivage Apartments, River St.
"The friend invited a third party to that session ... there had been some verbal arguments in that apartment and Mr Thompson sought to leave," she said.
"The third party went to the carpark area ... and was effectively calling Mr Thompson out for a physical altercation."
Ms Morton said her client, who was drunk, had been trying to escape the conflict when he was arrested by police, "which he took some umbrage at".
When he got a chance Thompson took flight, eventually tripping over a tree root.
"The complainant officer was then on top of him ... he's not a person of great height, your honour, and Mr Thompson is 6'5," Ms Morton said.
"The officer was on his back and his hands where coming in and around, trying to restrain Mr Thompson."
The agreed facts indicate Thompson moved his mouth to bite the officer.
But Ms Morton said her client was adamant he "felt a finger in his mouth and applied sufficient pressure to have that removed".
The officer was not injured, Ms Morton said.
She added since the offence Thompson's attitude towards police had back-flipped after a man "assaulted his mother and stepfather in their home".
"Mr Thompson was actually the individual ... who assisted police in the apprehension ... including when police were having difficulty restraining [the man]," Ms Morton said.
"A matter which he himself would have indicated some time ago he may not have been of such assistance to police."
She said Thompson made a timely plea and had been seeking full-time work in the mines, after previously working on sites installing air conditioning systems.
Magistrate Nerida Wilson said it was time for Thompson to "grow up".
"Police deserve to go to work and to be safe. It was more down to good luck than good management that you didn't break the skin," she said.
She sentenced Thompson to four months jail, suspended immediately for 18 months.
He was also fined $2000 and a conviction was recorded.