Man sobs as he avoids jail after 'repulsive' attack

A MAN who spat in the face of a police officer while being treated in the back of an ambulance, buried his head in his hands and sobbed at the news he will not serve jail time for the "repulsive" attack.

William James Stewart Smith, of Warwick, spent about four hours in the cells yesterday, as Magistrate Graham Lee decided his fate.

The Warwick Magistrates Court heard Smith was affected by amphetamines and alcohol when he unleashed a violent tirade against both ambulance and police officers who were trying to treat him last year.

When responding to calls of a disturbance, officers found an agitated Smith, who was living near Emerald at the time, damaging his own caravan and bleeding from a wound on his foot.

Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan said the now 26-year-old was poking and pulling at his wound to make it bleed more.

Ambulance officers decided Smith was a danger to himself and to transfer him to Emerald Hospital.

After temporarily losing consciousness, Smith awoke and lashed out at the police and ambulance officers, attempting to punch and kick them both.

The police officer handcuffed him and held his hands above head while the ambulance officer restrained his legs.

Smith, who throughout the duration of the trip was administered three doses of sedative to no effect, at one point asked the police officer to relax his grip on his hands.

When he did, Smith sat up and spat at the officer, hitting him in the face and eyes.

He then continued attempts to spit at and bite both the officers.

Both the officers resorted to putting masks on themselves and Smith, to prevent any further spitting.

Smith's violent behaviour did not subside at the hospital and his attempts to spit at and bite nurses and doctors were only negated when a doctor administer a powerful anaesthetic.

Solicitor Phil Stainton told the court his client was suffering with the aftermath of a relationship breakdown at the time of the offence and turned to speed and alcohol to ease the pain.

Mr Stainton added that Smith had since turned his life around and was expecting a child with his partner.

During sentencing, Mr Lee said Smith's actions were "repugnant and repulsive, to say the least".

"These people were trying to help you out and you treat them like this," he said.

"I hope the very short period of time you have spent in custody today has shown you what it is like."

Smith pleaded guilty to one charge of serious assault.

He was sentenced to four months jail but placed on immediate parole.

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