A 21-year-old man was fined and had his application for a spent conviction rejected after obstructing and assaulting police at the Pier Hotel.
Geoffrey Brian Taylor pleaded guilty before Magistrate Hills-Wright in Esperance Magistrates Court to charges of obstructing and assaulting a public officer on January 8, 2019.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Carolyn Petersen said the offences occurred about 12:30am on September 30, 2018.
Police were responding to a fight in the carpark outside the front of the Pier.
An officer arrested a male for fighting and, during the arrest, Taylor began yelling at police.
Snr Constable Petersen said Taylor was interfering with police duties and was warned to get back.
He approached a male officer and shoved him in the chest with two hands.
The officer was forced to fire capsicum spray.
Taylor was arrested and taken to Esperance Police Station. He told officers he did not want to hurt them, but was trying to “get at” the man being arrested.
Taylor’s lawyer applied for a spent conviction, which the prosecution opposed.
Snr Constable Petersen said there was a public interest in knowing about the incident to prevent future police assaults.
Taylor’s lawyer said he was of prior good character, worked full-time, only had a record of traffic offences and had not started the fight. The incident was also alcohol-fueled.
Magistrate Hills-Wright accepted Taylor was unlikely to commit a similar offence and gave him credit for his early plea of guilty.
However, the magistrate did not grant him a spent conviction because he deemed there was a need for general deterrence.
“The message needs to be sent that it’s a serious matter to assault a police officer,” he said.
Taylor was given a global fine of $2000 and charged $107.50 in court costs.