Man acquitted of assaulting, kicking female police officer
AN IPSWICH man who would otherwise be expecting his first child "at or about" the time he would be sentenced to prison was this week acquitted of two counts of serious assault or obstruct of two female police officers.
Magistrate Donna MacCallum found Mitchell Wallace Clark, 28, not guilty of the charges, which arose from a scuffle with two female officers at the Metrepole Hotel in March this year.
Clark's defence lawyer Chris Nyst told the court his client was a "well respected young man trying to make his way in the world" who, if found guilty of the charges, would have been sentenced to prison "at or about" the time he and his wife were expecting their first child.
"He was behaving lawfully on the night and was set upon and manhandled and paraded around in front of other people on the footpath in handcuffs," Mr Nyst said.
The court heard the charges related to an incident at the Brisbane St bar between 2 and 2.30am on March 5 in which he was escorted from the premises by police.
Ms MacCallum said Mr Clark and the two police officers fell down the stairs during an incident in which "there was a bit of a crush on the steps" and the defendant later struck a police officer in the stomach with his foot.
She said the evidence was "too confused" to prove the kick was intentional or the defendant heard the complainant say, "stop, police" when the group met on the steps of the pub but Mr Clark did have "liquor on board".
One witness told the court he saw Mr Clark "boot the copper".
"It was a pub nightclub environment and not unreasonable to assume Clark didn't hear (the police officer)," she said.
She said Mr Clark had an "honest but mistaken belief about who the police were and what they expected or wanted from him".
The court heard Mr Clark was struggling while he was handcuffed and told police, "I've got a bad thumb, loosen the cuffs".
Ms MacCallum said it was a case which had "as many versions as there are witnesses".
"It is easy to (see) the behaviour in a negative way of view rather than with another point of view," she said.
"What I am trying to say in an inelegant fashion is everyone tried to give evidence but not knowing what they were dealing with.
"We live in a way where people are (affected) by drugs and alcohol and subjected to negative behaviour."
Both Ms MacCallum and police prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick rejected Mr Nyst's application for $30,000 court costs on behalf of his client.
"The prosecution has brought and continued in good faith," Sgt Dick said.