Leda: Man’s drunken punch on a police officer ends in suspended sentence

Leda: Man’s drunken punch on a police officer ends in suspended sentence

A MAN who threatened police before punching an officer to the face has avoided prison.

Hendrick Jan Smit pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting a public officer, disorderly behaviour in public, disorderly behaviour at a lock-up and obstructing public officers.

The prosecutor said police were called to a disturbance at a Leda home on March 27 before the offences occurred.

When police arrived they found a man visibly intoxicated who then shouted obscenities at police.

He also told the officers “I’m going to jail”.

He then proceeded past the police car, punching one of it’s mirrors.

When police tried to handcuff him he managed to break free before punching one officer in his face causing swelling and redness.

He was finally handcuffed and taken to the Perth Watch House where he tried to hit another officer but missed.

The prosecutor said police had a difficult enough time as it was without having to “deal with drunks”.

His lawyer said Smit had been drinking all day and could not remember much of the incident, but did accept the police version of events.

“He is very shameful of his actions and having done the pre-sentence opportunity program (POP) has gained insight to his alcohol issues,” the lawyer said.

“He has been abstinent since the incident and found the POP program beneficial and intends to engage with it further.

“At the age of 17 he was in a car crash that rendered him paraplegic for a time before later slowly regaining movement.”

Magistrate Vivien Edwards said the penalty should reflect personal and general deterrence.

“People like you who decide police officers are fair game make their job even harder,” she said.

“I’m of the view prison is warranted but as you successfully served a pre-sentence order the term should be suspended.”

He was sentenced to a seven-month jail term suspended for nine months.