COVID check turns ugly with foot chase, quadruple taser
A MAN was tasered four times and then arrested with two others after all three men obstructed police during a coronavirus lockdown check.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told Proserpine Magistrates Court this week police were trying to investigate a gathering at a Shute Harbour Rd property in May as they believed coronavirus restrictions were being broken.
Officers called up to Thomas Matthew Grieve, who was on the balcony, to get the owner to open the door.
Sgt Myors said Grieve refused, telling officers they had no right to come up.
Another man, Levi Smith then went down to speak to officers as he was the holder of the lease and then called someone to open the door.
When Grieve came down to open the door, he was told he was under arrest, but the 28-year-old man pulled away and would not get on the floor.
Sgt Myors told the court Grieve then raised a hand towards an officer, so another officer tasered him and Grieve fell to the ground.
All the while, his mate Smith had pulled out his phone and was recording the arrest.
Sgt Myors said officers tried to get Smith's phone but the 27 year old ran away and a foot chase ensued. Smith then gave the phone to another friend - Morgan Gerrit Vanderwyk, 28.
Magistrate Damien Dwyer asked Sgt Myors what powers police had to take a phone and she replied officers could have tried to seize the phone because they were investigating an offence.
All three men were charged with obstructing police and pleaded guilty this week.
Lawyer Elizabeth Smith appeared for the Airlie Beach men, with Smith and Vanderwyk appearing together but Grieve dealt with separately.
Ms Smith said the charges arose from Grieve and Smith pulling their arms away when being arrested, while Vanderwyk made the officers' job more difficult.
Grieve was tasered four times and on three of the occasions he was on the ground, she said.
"He was significantly affected by the fact he was tasered so many times," she said.
"He spent the night in the watch-house as a consequence as well."
Ms Smith said Grieve had no criminal history and was previously living with his grandparents down south but moved to Airlie Beach so they would not be put at risk of COVID-19.
The magistrate noted the irony of that situation.
"It's gratifying to think he wants to keep his grandparents safe but not the rest of us," Mr Dwyer said.
Mr Dwyer fined Grieve $300 and did not record a conviction.
"Police have a job to do, just let them do it," Mr Dwyer said.
Convictions were also not recorded for Vanderwyk or Smith, with Vanderwyk fined $100 and Smith fined $300.
Mr Dwyer said Smith was given a higher fine as he also pleaded guilty to another charge of failing to provide police with identifying particulars.