Six weeks jail for assault

A MAN who spat on a police officer and bit his hand during an arrest has been jailed for six weeks after pleading guilty in the District Court in Warwick yesterday.

Craig Paul Lambert, 30, appeared before Judge Julie Ryrie yesterday, where he faced a charge of serious assault, along with a charge of possessing a drug utensil.

Jurors summoned for a potential trial were dismissed after Lambert entered his plea.

The Crown Prosecutor told the court police had been called to a Freestone residence on December 29 last year, where a violent domestic incident was in progress.

On entering the residence a number of people, including Lambert, were observed, including his 16-month-old son.

One of the officers activated a camera and recorded discussions with Lambert, who was "ranting", covered in blood and appeared under the influence of an intoxicant.

The video evidence showed Lambert to be "irrational", at one stage attempting to shake hands with one of the officers.

Eventually the decision was made to remove Lambert from the residence and he was handcuffed in front of his body, at which point an unhelpful relative attempted to pass him a bottle of home-brewed beer.

Lambert dropped the bottle and fell to the floor, rolling onto his side and spitting on the trouser leg of a Warwick police sergeant, who then received a bite on the hand from the struggling offender.

The court heard the bite did not break the skin.

The Crown recommended a 12-month jail sentence, to be suspended after an "appropriate custodial period", noting Lambert had been convicted of a previous offence of spitting at several police officers and common assault of an ambulance paramedic.

On that occasion he was sentenced to nine months jail and served three months.

Defence counsel for Lambert said his client was suffering from a mental illness with which he had been diagnosed a decade ago and at the time of the incident had chosen not to take his medication and to consume an intoxicant.

But he said father-of-two Lambert - who was supported in court by his mother and partner - had managed to "stay off the grog" since the incident and had a responsible job locally which had helped to "turn his life around".

He asked Judge Ryrie to consider immediate parole so Lambert's employment would not be jeopardised and hardship caused to his family.

The Crown said Lambert had started his job two months before the incident, noting it was "not really a case" of work having turned him around.

Judge Ryrie noted Lambert's circumstances and remorse but said a term of actual jail time was called for and sentenced him to nine months, to be released on parole for the remainder after serving six weeks.

If he commits another offence while on parole a return to jail is automatic.

He will be released from prison on January 12.

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