An alleged incident of malicious damage to a NSW Ambulance vehicle occurred in the Grafton CBD on January 20, 2020.
An alleged incident of malicious damage to a NSW Ambulance vehicle occurred in the Grafton CBD on January 20, 2020.

Man guilty of biting, scratching police during arrest jailed

A GRAFTON man found guilty of biting and scratching police during an arrest in Grafton's CBD that a magistrate found lawful has been sentenced.

Mitchell Murry, 30, had plead not guilty to two charges of assaulting police officer in the execution of duty causing actual bodily harm, arguing their actions were unlawful. Murry had previously plead guilty to four charges of stalk/intimidate causing fear of physical harm and intentionally/recklessly damaging property.

In Grafton Local Court last week heard that on the evening of January 20 this year Murry had abused a number of people outside the Dominos Pizza store in Prince St, Grafton, including an employee of the store and a NSW Ambulance paramedic.

Murry smashed the passenger side window of the ambulance before leaving the area at around 7.10pm.

Police arrived shortly after and found Murry leaving the area, and after ignoring several requests by police to stop he was placed under arrest.

During the arrest Murry bit and scratched one officer, and scratched a second.

In court Murry's solicitor Barbara Lu argued her client could not be guilty of assaulting police in execution of duty as they were acting unlawfully during the arrest. Ms Lu submitted her client was not obligating to stop and talk to police, and that police did not follow the correct protocol in the arrest which was for the purpose of questioning.

Magistrate Kathy Crittenden disagreed with Ms Lu's submissions, and found Murry guilty, stating that she was satisfied police had a suspicion based on reasonable grounds that Murry had committed an offence, and since police were not able to identify who Murry was at the time they had enough reason to make an arrest under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002.

"The importance of the evidence is that this interaction took seconds, and I am satisfied (the arresting officer) Snr Constable (Colin) Hadley complied with all arresting requirements," Ms Crittenden said in making her decision.

Murry was sentenced to 14 months behind bars, with a non-parole period of seven months.

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