Bond for slapping officer in the face
The ACT Magistrates Court. Photo: Graham Tidy
A man with one good hand and leg has been found guilty of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest for an incident described by the magistrate as a "perfect storm".
But Anthony Bruce Gilkes was cleared of assault causing actual bodily harm when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday.
The father of two was tasered by police as they responded to a reported altercation between Gilkes and his father, in what Special Magistrate Graeme Lunney described as "the aftermath of a birthday party".
The incident had settled by the time police had arrived.
Gilkes, from Newcastle, told the court he was asleep when two police officers entered his room and ordered him into the dining area. He did so and was seated when he saw his father enter another room with another officer.
Gilkes said he stood to follow his father when he was blocked by the officers and ordered to sit down.
He said an officer then humiliated him for having only one hand and he reacted by slapping the officer's face using the open palm of his good hand.
The court heard Gilkes was grabbed by police from behind, flipped on to his back and tasered after a short scuffle. He described being tasered as ''excruciating'' and the ''most frightening experience of my life''.
Gilkes was then placed under arrest for resisting arrest.
His lawyer, Paul Edmonds, had previously argued that evidence of the assault on police and resisting arrest should be excluded because his client was the victim of unlawful confinement and was entitled to use reasonable force, such as a slap.
He said Gilkes could not resist arrest if he hadn't been formally detained.
But Mr Lunney said police were "well justified" in asking Gilkes not to join his father.
There was no actual touching of the defendant before the scuffle, he said.
Quoting evidence given by police that Gilkes appeared "agitated and angry" before the assault, he said the slap was unprovoked.
"It was a totally gratuitous act," Mr Lunney said.
"[Police] should not be regarded as people that people affected by alcohol can vent their displeasure [at].''
In sentencing submissions, Mr Edmonds argued that his client had been "punished a great deal already", and that his family had suffered significant impact from the continuing media coverage.
Mr Lunney convicted Gilkes of the two offences and ordered him to enter a one-year good behaviour bond, with conditions that he attend alcohol counselling and anger management if directed.
Mr Edmonds said Gilkes would consider options to appeal against the conviction.