Man assaults paramedic in attempt to protect suicidal wife
WHILE responding to a call of a woman contemplating suicide in Kingaroy on Sunday night a Queensland Ambulance Service officer was assaulted by the patient's husband.
Craige Anthony Smith faced Kingaroy Magistrates Court on Monday charged with serious assault of a QAS officer and a separate charge of obstructing police.
Earlier on Sunday afternoon Smith was in the waiting room at the Kingaroy Hospital after his wife, who has a borderline personality disorder, had been admitted for suicidal ideation.
Duty lawyer Tom Carr said when staff reported she had checked herself out Smith felt "considerable confusion and frustration with the system in place."
He returned to the hotel they were staying on Youngman St to find his wife in the swimming pool, feared for her safety and called for an ambulance.
Police prosecutor Pepe Gangemi said the woman and Smith were aggressive towards the ambulance officer when QAS arrived on scene at 11.50pm.
The trio walled together on the side of the road because the office was concerned she would jump in front of oncoming traffic.
"While all three were walking a vehicle started travelling towards them and the female patient said to the defendant, "I don't know if I want to jump in front of the car or push this c--- in front of it,'" Sgt Gangemi said.
The woman started walking towards the road as the car approached. In response the officer grabbed the her and pushed away from the road.
"When he has done this the defendant has swung a closed fist at the victim ambulance officer which the officer was able to deflect," Sgt Gangemi said.
Mr Carr said Smith didn't hear what his wife had said and thought it was an "excessive reaction" when he saw the officer throwing his wife away from the road and towards the ground.
"He doesn't remember trying to punch the officer but he did remember interfering," Mr Carr said.
"He had no intention of harming the ambulance officer, I think it was a knee-jerk reaction.
"He thought if he had time with his wife to talk through what she was going through he might have been able to calm her down himself and that is how he deals with these sorts of issues."
When police arrived on scene to help take the woman to hospital the defendant interfered by putting his hands on police, telling them to let her go and then put his body over hers to prevent police from moving her.
Smith was then arrested and taken into custody.
Sgt Gangemi said that while the ambulance officer was not injured it was a serious offence.
"Mr Smith has made his job not only harder but after he had directed her away from traffic that she had made some verbal intentions to jump in front of Mr Smith has tried to punch him," he said.
Magistrate Louisa Pink acknowledged that the behaviour was out of character for Smith, who works full-times as a farm and live stock manager, with no previous criminal history.
"It seems like it is a one off event that occurred under very unusual circumstances, but it is serious," she said.
"We have an ambulance officer who is there to try and help your wife and then you throw a punch at him, that is the seriousness of the conduct.
"I accept that if you didn't know what was happening you may have reacted badly in the circumstances."
Smith was fined $900 for serious assault and a further $300 for obstructing police.
No conviction was recorded on either charge.