Police officer's thumb permanently injured during arrest

A 45-YEAR-OLD Bundaberg man will spend two months behind bars after he was found guilty of public nuisance and seriously resisting arrest, resulting in a police officer requiring surgery on an injured thumb.

During the trial in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Mark Andrew Bathman gave a version of events which contradicted four witnesses - three police officers and a member of the public.

But Magistrate Aaron Simpson did not accept Bathman's evidence and found him guilty, sentencing Bathman to six month imprisonment with a parole release date of April 25 this year.

The court heard on June 23 last year plain-clothed Senior Constable Dean Burgess and another officer responded to a call in relation to a couple - the defendants housemates - fighting in the street.

Snr Const Burgess said Bathman was not involved in the fight but he was sitting close by with an empty 2lt bottle of Jim Beam nearby.

said the other officer dealt with the male involved in the fight while he put the female in the car but as he turned around he was confronted by Bathman, who had stood up and held the bottle above his head.

"I thought he was going to strike me with the bottle," Snr Const Burgess said.

"He had it raised above his head in an aggressive manner.

"I said to him 'put the bottle down'. I said it a number of times."

Snr Const Burgess said after a number of warnings Bathman threw the bottle to the ground and as he did, he grabbed the defendants left arm and threw him to the ground.

He said Bathman refused to comply when told he was under arrest and struggled as he tried to put him in handcuffs.

Snr Const Burgess said during the struggle his thumb became caught and bent backwards, causing immediate pain.

"I knew I was in trouble straight away," he said.

Snr Const Burgess said he called for back up as Bathman continued to yell.

"He (Bathman) said 'I bet you're a Christian, I'll cut your head off'," Snr Const Burgess said.

Snr Const Burgess told the court it was evident Bathman was well and truly drunk.

"You could smell the alcohol on him, he was intoxicated," he said.

snr Const Burgess told the court he later attended the Bundaberg Hospital and after a number of visits it was revealed he needed surgery to repair the considerable damage to the thumb joint.

He said he did not return to full duties until November and a medical assessment shows there is a permanent 9% disability in that joint.

Representing himself, Bathman gave a different version to police, telling the court he was inside the garage of the address on the day when police arrived.

He said a uniformed officer asked him to step outside and suggested he could have been lifting the bottle to have a drink.

But when cross-examined by Police Prosecutor Barry Stevens, Bathman said he couldn't recall what the officer who spoke to him looked like and had no recollection of Snr Const Burgess.

Bathman told the court he had drunk about three quarters of the bottle of Jim Bean and a litre of wine in the lead up to the incident.

"I was drunk yes. I could hardly stand up, my grandmother could have knocked me over," he said.

Mr Simpson rejected Bathman's version and said the witnesses' evidence was clear and logical while Bathman's was not.



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