Cop slashed in pub assault
By SALLY GORDON
A FEW quiet drinks with mates at a Grafton hotel turned ugly on Thursday night, when a patron allegedly slashed a well-known police sergeant in the face with a schooner glass.
The incident at the hotel was a tragic ending to the 2006 Grafton Police Ironman event, which left Sergeant Chris Tuite, 43, with 38 stitches to a serious cut on his chin and five stitches to a hand injury.
Over the past few months Sgt Tuite had gone above and beyond the call of duty to organise the annual ironman event, which raised more than $14,000 through entrance fees and a charity auction for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
The day was hailed a massive success by all, with celebrations continuing into the night.
However, just after 10pm on Thursday night police arrested a 21-year-old Macksville man for the alleged assault at the hotel.
The man spent Thursday night in police custody and yesterday was released on conditional bail.
He has been charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on a police officer and resisting arrest.
He is to appear in the Grafton Local Court on June 26.
A female patron, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had been drinking inside the hotel when she allegedly heard someone yell that Sgt Tuite had been 'glassed'.
"I've jumped off my chair and went running out," she said.
"I saw two guys trying to hold down the guy who must have glassed Tuite ... before anyone else came out I jumped on this bloke's back and had my arm around his neck ... he wasn't going anywhere without me.
"Then a whole bunch of coppers came out and stopped the guy from running away."
The woman said onlookers, who included a number of police officers and emergency service workers who had attended the fundraiser during the day, were stunned and disappointed.
"Sgt Tuite had spent the entire day organising the fundraiser for the helicopter and put all this effort into it and then he gets stabbed in the face with a glass," she said.
"I went to the fundraiser last year and it was a fantastic day and what I saw of this year's event everyone was having just as much fun, so for this to happen was a real shame."