Irishman's luck runs out after wild watch house escape bid
A COURT has heard how a man had to be capsicum sprayed and tasered twice during a violent struggle after things turned sour when police tried to help him get home safely after a night out.
John Ivan Patrick McLaughlin, 21, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to two counts of assaulting a police officer, obstructing police and contravening a direction or requirement of police.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland told the court police were called to Quay St at 12am on September 6 after a man was seen lying on the footpath.
When police arrived they woke McLaughlin and asked him where he lived before offering to give him a lift home.
McLaughlin refused to provide police with any of his details and was informed that if he didn't he could be arrested for being intoxicated in a public place.
McLaughlin again failed to provide the information and began struggling violently with police before he was eventually taken to the Bundaberg Watch House.
But things went from bad to worse when he arrived.
Sen Const Bland told the court McLaughlin, who had no ID on him, refused to give police his name and then provided a fake name.
Police eventually got McLaughlin's name after making inquiries with a backpacker hostel.
Later, as police tried to removed McLaughlin's handcuffs while in the holding cell, things began to escalate.
McLaughlin grabbed two of the officers by the shirt and shoved one of them in the chest and face.
He then struck the other officer in the face before he ran out into the foyer of the Watch House, throwing one of the officers to the ground.
McLaughlin continued violently struggling with police before he was sprayed with capsicum spray which had no effect.
Sen Const Bland said McLaughlin then made it out to an exercise yard where he continued to struggle.
Police used a taser to try and detain McLaughlin, and were successful after the taser was used a second time.
One of the officers sustained swelling and bruising to his face and finger and McLaughlin required medical assistance to remove a taser barb from his neck.
Sen Const Bland tendered a letter of apology from McLaughlin to police, which she said wasn't something that happened often.
However she said the job of police was hard enough as it was.
"Police don't go to work to be punching bags," she said.
McLaughin's lawyer Rian Dwyer told the court his client was from Northern Ireland and that he had been in Australia for the last nine months on a visa.
Mr Dwyer said McLaughlin couldn't remember anything after getting a taxi home.
He said McLaughlin thought his drink may have been spiked at a beach party he had attended earlier that night and that he had never acted in such a way before.
Mr Dwyer told the court McLaughlin was extremely embarrassed and ashamed of what he had done and was willing to pay compensation for injuring the officers.
He asked for a conviction not to be recorded as McLaughlin was hoping to apply for another visa once his current one expired.
Magistrate Andrew Moloney took into account McLaughlin's plea of guilty and the submissions made by both Sen Const Bland and Mr Dwyer.
Mr Moloney said police were entitled to go to work and feel safe.
McLaughlin was fined $1000 and was ordered to pay $250 compensation to each of the police officers he injured.
He also received an order banning him from going to any licensed premises in the Bundaberg Safe Night Out Precinct.
Convictions were not recorded.