'Sickening' Police Assault Sparks Call For Tougher Penalties
The police union has lashed out at the courts after two officers were "brutally" bashed by a group on a buck's night -- and the alleged offenders set free.
Police Association of NSW President Tony King is shocked that two of the men involved in the Central Coast incident were granted conditional bail the very next day -- despite facing serious charges and prosecutors opposing bail.
"Incidents like this make you sick to the stomach," King said.
"These officers were simply doing their job. Next thing you know, they've been set upon and brutally attacked."
Around 7pm on Saturday, officers from Brisbane Water Police District responded to reports of a disturbance involving a group of intoxicated men at the Boathouse Hotel at Patonga.
The buck's party was on the Palm Beach Ferry, and the ferry master had called ahead to warn the hotel of the group's impending arrival.
Police arrived after the men were refused entry and a security guard was allegedly punched several times in the face, leaving him with a suspected fractured jaw.
It is alleged an officer was knocked to the ground and choked by a 34-year-old man at the scene. A second police officer was also punched in the face and head.
King said it was a "horrific" act of violence against people just doing their job.
"Police are sick and tired of being used as punching bags for thugs," he said.
"Our members have had an absolute gutful of being attacked in the line of duty and then not being backed up and supported by the courts."
Three men aged 48, 28 and 18 were arrested and taken to Gosford Police Station on Saturday, where they were charged and refused bail.
A fourth man, 34, fled the scene but was arrested at a home on Sunday morning.
Both the 48-year-old and 28-year-old were charged with six offences but were granted conditional bail after appearing in Wyong Local Court on Sunday.
The 34-year-old and the 18-year-old were charged with four offences, and granted bail on Monday.
The 34-year-old will reappear in court on March 7, the 48- and 28-year-old on March 12, and the 18-year-old on March 19.
The Central Coast incident occurred on the same night two officers in Melbourne were set upon in what Victorian Police Association’s Wayne Gatt described as “one of the most horrific assaults on a police officer" he had seen.
King said these events should be dealt with more harshly by the legal system.
"The courts again fail to live up to the expectations of police and their communities," King said of the decision to grant bail in the Central Coast incident.
"If you assault a police officer the community expects you to be locked up. If you choke a police officer you should not see the light of day for years."
"It's deeply disturbing to think about what these offenders are capable of."
The officers involved did not need hospital treatment and police are currently reviewing CCTV footage of the attack.