Rockingham court: man jailed for assaulting prison staff

A MAN has insisted he did not need legal advice after pleading guilty to assaulting prison staff.

Sunday Makcuei Ater appeared in custody at the Rockingham Magistrates Court on May 31.

The prosecutor said the assault took place on October 16 last year at Casuarina Prison.

Ater was a serving prisoner at the time and at 2pm a guard came to inform him that he was to be moved to another unit.

Upon hearing this Ater became aggressive, stating that he did not want to be moved.

With a clenched fist he punched the guard on the lower jaw before another guard came to intervene.

All three ended up wrestling on the floor, triggering a Red Alert in the prison.

More guards attended and Ater was subdued.

The prosecutor said Ater had a record that included two previous assaults on public officers.

Magistrate Leanne Atkins asked repeatedly if Ater wanted to speak with a lawyer.

“You are in a very difficult position,” she told Ater “I am looking at another prison term here.”

Ater replied that he had nothing to say.

The magistrate then asked if he would talk to Community Corrections for a report.

“No,” he said. “It just happened, I can’t deny it.

“I don’t want to be coming here everyday.”

Magistrate Atkins told him he would go to prison. “You know you are going to prison,” she said.

“Yep,” Ater replied.

“Are you sure you don’t want a lawyer?” she asked.

“Nope,” he said.

“I have warned you there is a term of imprisonment,” Magistrate Atkins said before sentencing Ater to a jail term of six months and one day.