Woman with Hep C spat on officer and laughed

A HERVEY Bay woman told a police officer she had Hepatitis C, before later spitting in the constable's face and laughing, a court has heard.

Margaret Neff, 44, appeared in Hervey Bay District Court on Thursday, charged with serious assault of a police officer involving spitting and summary charges of public nuisance, obstructing and assaulting police. Neff pleaded guilty to all charges.

The court heard on September 30, 2016, Neff was arrested at a Scarness home on Boat Harbour Dr after causing a scene with an ex-boyfriend.

Crown Prosecutor Michael Connolly told the court on the way to the watch house, Neff told the arresting officers "I have Hepatitis C".

While in custody, the mother of three children banged on the front of her cell until her arresting officers decided to move her to a safer room.

Mr Connolly said Neff used the move as a chance to spit on the officer.

"She moved her head back… and spat saliva on [a female constable's] shoulder and right cheek near her eye," Mr Connolly said.

"She [Neff] said to the officer 'sucked in slut' and … in the cell, she [Neff] laughed uncontrollably."

The officer was taken to Hervey Bay Hospital.

When interviewed by another officer, Neff said she had known since the previous January she had Hepatitis C, but did not know how it was contracted, except through blood.

Neff's defence barrister Franklin Richards said his client had been acting out of her usual character at the time of the offence.

"On the night of the offence, she was taking medication and alcohol."

Mr Richards added that when police were transferring Neff from one cell to the other, his client hit her head on a "hard surface" and was "left in an injured condition for an hour or more".

The defence barrister said Neff continued to suffer from the head injury, as it had scarred her and has caused nerve tingling.

"My client received stitches in hospital," he said.

Judge David Searles described Neff's behaviour on the night of the offence as "disgusting conduct".

The judge took into consideration Neff's early plea of guilty, and her work to abstain from medication and alcohol.

Neff was given a nine-month sentence, and will serve two months behind bars.

Upon release, the rest of her sentence will be suspended with an operational period of three years.



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