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Assault on policewoman draws suspended sentence

Wednesday, 14th August, 2013

A drunk man who was barred from a hotel abused police when they told him to leave and injured a policewoman as the officers struggled to control him, the Local Court heard yesterday.

Peter James Edward Farnham (20) had been barred for life from the Mulga Hill Tavern but tried to get back in to the hotel in the early hours of October 6 last year, police told the court.

He was denied entry by the staff who called police when he refused to leave. Eventually he got into a taxi but continued to hurl abuse at the four officers.

When he punched the taxi’s window the driver ordered him out and a struggle ensued with the police during which a female senior constable suffered severe grazing to one of her elbows. 

She was taken to hospital and Mr Farnham was handcuffed and taken to the police station. 

His lawyer, Wes Burton, told the court that while his client had been “reckless in the extreme” he had not deliberately assaulted the officer.

Mr Burton conceded that Mr Farnham was on a bond for assault at the time but asked the magistrate not to jail him because he had been making good headway with his rehabilitation and was a young man.

But Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy replied that some sort of jail sentence was necessary for an incident that he described as “appalling” and “unseemly”.

Violence against police officers going about their duties would not be tolerated by the court, Mr Dunlevy said, and Mr Farnham had to be punished for the purpose of general deterrence.

But his criminal record was relatively slight and the report from his rehabilitation program stated that he had given up drink and drugs, he said. 

Mr Dunlevy sentenced him to a 12-month suspended jail sentence for the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to a police officer and fined him $450 for failing to leave the pub.

He also ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service and put him on one 18-month good behaviour bond for resisting arrest, and another for breaching his previous bond.

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