A MAN who pleaded guilty to assaulting two Bendigo police officers says he has special reasons to avoid a mandatory six-month jail term.
Luke Macpherson, 28, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Tuesday where he admitted to two charges of recklessly causing injury to an emergency service worker and one count of being drunk in a public place.
The recklessly causing injury charge carries a mandatory minimum six-month jail term.
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But if Macpherson can prove drugs or alcohol were not the main cause of his mental impairment at the time of the assault, he may receive either a lesser prison sentence or a different court order.
The court heard on the evening of March 7 last year, Macpherson was in the Bendigo CBD drinking with two other men.
About 10.08pm, the group was captured on CCTV footage outside the Basement Bar on View Street.
Macpherson was wrestling with one of the men when two police officers drove past. The officers pulled over and turned on their body cameras.
The court heard one of the police officers asked Macpherson to show identification but he refused. He was acting intoxicated and was aggressive towards the police.
Macpherson eventually provided his name and address to the officers but did not provide his licence.
After Macpherson repeatedly tried to walk away, the officers arrested him for being drunk in a public place. Macpherson refused arrest and was sprayed with capsicum spray.
The 28-year-old then punched the male officer three times to the head and to the shoulder.
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He then turned to the female police officer, grabbing her in a headlock and trapping her on the ground. The court heard he punched the woman to the head three times and ripped her hair out.
Macpherson was sprayed with capsicum spray again but it had no effect on him. He was eventually tasered and arrested.
The court heard one of the police officers experienced temporary hearing loss as a result of the assault.
The other officer received bruising to her head and body, scratches, temporary ringing in their ears, and chunks of her hair were missing.
Macpherson and the other two men were arrested and taken to the Bendigo Police Station for questioning.
Macpherson told police he couldn't remember the assault, saying he had consumed several beers and whiskey shots that evening.
Macpherson's defence lawyer Robert Morgan said while his client admitted to the charges, Macpherson had special reasons not to be jailed for the minimum sentence of six months.
Mr Morgan said Macpherson was already experiencing post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the offending.
Three psychiatric reports tendered to the court showed Macpherson had been experiencing mental health issues since he was the victim of an assault in 2011.
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Dr Lester Walton, who wrote the reports last year, submitted to the court that Macpherson's PTSD meant it was likely he would overreact and act impulsively.
Dr Walton said Macpherson's alcohol consumption on the night of the offending would have only exacerbated those symptoms.
The psychiatrist also submitted that Macpherson would be vulnerable in prison and his mental health condition could substantially deteriorate while in custody.
Mr Morgan said if the magistrate found Macpherson met special reasons, he should receive a treatment order or less than one week in jail.
The defence lawyer said Macpherson was a first-time offender who was "profoundly ashamed of his behaviour".
"He openly accepts that the police officers were doing their job and shouldn't have been subjected to this behaviour," Mr Morgan said. "He deeply regrets his behaviour. It was a one-off."
But police prosecutor Senior Constable Martin Friend said Macpherson's offending was fuelled by alcohol rather than mental health issues.
He said there was insufficient evidence that PTSD substantially reduced Macpherson's moral culpability.
"Macpherson was confrontational from the outset," Senior Constable Friend said. "The assault was a retaliation of the anger of being sprayed (with capsicum spray) rather than a response to mental illness."
Magistrate Megan Aumair is due to sentence Macpherson at the Bendigo Magistrates' Court next week. His bail was extended to his next court date.
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