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NSW man slapped with prison after headbutting police

The Proserpine Court House
The Proserpine Court House Peter Carruthers

AFTER headbutting a police officer on Friday night, a New South Wales man will be released from prison and reunited with his family for Christmas.

AJ David Martin, 27, flew with a group of friends to the Whitsundays on October 6 to enjoy a weekend in Airlie Beach.

Instead, he served four days in custody and was slapped with a prison sentence.

Martin appeared in custody at Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday pleading guilty to obstructing police and assaulting a police officer.

The violence unfolded shortly after 10pm on October 6 when Shed Bar security called police to the venue to remove another man causing a disturbance.

Security also asked police to be present as they removed Martin from the premises, who had fallen asleep at the venue and acted "aggressively" earlier in the night.

Shortly after being kicked out of the bar, the man initially removed by police returned to the venue to speak to Martin, and police arrested him for doing so.

Prosecutor Sheena Hayes said the man asked Martin not to leave him as police took him to the car.

"(Martin) continued to follow as police were placing (the man) into the vehicle parked in front of the venue, he stood in front of the police door preventing police from closing the door and from (the man) being secured," she said.

"(Martin) was then warned to step away or be arrested, he refused and threatened the police.

"(Martin) was then advised that he was under arrest for his behaviour and once he was advised he was under arrest he became increasingly aggressive and was verbally threatening to assault police."

The verbal exchange continued until Martin swiftly headbutted one of the police officers, with the impact knocking the officer a metre back.

Martin was then tasered, handcuffed and taken to the Whitsunday Police Watch House.

The officer suffered no fractures from the attack and was given an icepack and painkillers.

Defence Lawyer Cleo Rewald said Martin had a fuzzy recollection of the attack and had fallen asleep at the venue due to intoxication.

"(Martin) has indicated to me he has extended his apology to the officer and made it through other officers," she said.

"I believe he has been in custody for four days and when he sobered up he said he didn't know where he was and he had to buzz through and ask where he was and that's when he learnt what occurred.

"He is willing to pay compensation, but that would be at your discretion on what the court would consider reasonable."

Magistrate Simon Young said there was not enough information before the court for compensation to be ordered.

However, he said the court needed to make a strong statement condemning police violence.

"The circumstances of this offence are unfortunately too common in this community, particularly in the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct," he said.

"The Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct does unfortunately have some little history of interstate people flying in for a weekend away... they get highly intoxicated and commit acts of serious violence.

"In my recollection there are some 15 incidents of significant violence involved with police in the Safe Night Precinct this year.

"The example to be made of you today must serve as a stern warning to the people that this behaviour is unacceptable and will be met with a strong response from the court."

Martin will serve two months of a nine month prison sentence, to be suspended for 18 months after his release.

Topics:  airlie beach safe night precinct headbutt proserpine court whitsunday police


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