The Proserpine Court House
The Proserpine Court House Peter Carruthers

Brutal Midge Point attack on court bailiff

A MACKAY court bailiff who was just doing his job was punched in the face hard enough to split his eyebrow, kneed in the stomach and put in a headlock in an encounter which left him in hospital.

A Midge Point man with autism avoided jail for attacking the bailiff as he attempted to take him into custody on February 1.

Nicholas James Eggleston pleaded guilty in Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday to serious assault of a person performing a lawful duty.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Hannah Beard told the court the victim went to the 37-year-old Eggleston's Midge Point property and clearly identified himself when Eggleston approached.

As the bailiff began to read the warrant for his arrest, Eggleston insisted the matter had already been sorted.

The court then heard Eggleston hit the bailiff, who ducked and weaved to avoid further punches.

"The defendant stood in between the victim and his car door to stop him getting inside,” Sen Const Beard said.

Eggleston yelled to his dog before kneeing the victim and holding him in a headlock. Eggleston only let go when the bailiff said he would not come back and his body camera was lost in the scuffle.

Once the bailiff was in the car, Eggleston tried to open the locked car door before punching the window twice.

PD Law's Elizabeth Smith said her client instructed that the bailiff struck him first.

Ms Smith said the former tiler was on a disability support pension following a back injury and was diagnosed with autism in 2015.

"He has documented history with difficulties when his routine is disrupted. He has tried to manage his autism by secluding himself on his large property on Midge Point,” Ms Smith said.

The court heard Eggleston was under the impression through his previous dealings with the bailiff's office that he had arranged to do all meetings through his counsellor at her office.

"It was not the case he was aware they would be attending his residence at all,” Ms Smith said.

"He saw the bailiff's motion towards him and reacted with a left hand punch to the face.

"He grabbed him and pushed him towards the car. He denies wrestling him to the ground or calling the dog.”

The bailiff's body camera could not be found when police attended the property 20 minutes later.

"There was no incentive for him to destroy it... he doesn't know if it even existed,” Ms Smith said.

Magistrate James Morton said there was no excuse for violence against someone doing their job.

"What? For defending myself?” Eggleston interjected.

Mr Morton responded: "I do not accept that you were defending yourself.”

Eggleston was placed on two years' probation and ordered to pay $1000 restitution. A conviction was recorded.


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