Man dodges jail after party assault

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

An Albany man who swung a broom handle at a police officer before three officers were allegedly assaulted at an out-of-control house party in Orana last month has avoided jail.

Corey Justin Brian Woods was accused of “igniting” the violent scenes at the home in Flemington Street when he was handed a seven-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, in Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday for assaulting a public officer and obstructing police. Party-goers were celebrating Woods’ 21st birthday and had been drinking heavily when police attended the house to speak to Woods over an earlier alleged incident.

Police say Woods then became aggressive and threatened to fight officers before back-up was called.

Police were then blocked from entering the home and one officer, a senior constable, had to avoid a broom handle being swung at his head by Woods.

Sergeant Carl Fjastad said Woods’ actions had “ignited” the situation and an immediate prison term was warranted. “If it wasn’t for the actions of the accused, the circumstances which unfolded would not have happened,” he said.

Defence lawyer Janie Gibbs said her client had been drinking excessively since the morning, celebrating his 21st birthday.

She said he was not accustomed to drinking to that level and had no recollection of the incident.

She said Woods accepted full responsibility for his actions, demonstrated by his guilty plea at the first opportunity, but she later admitted the guilty plea was tactically done before police could potentially upgrade the charge. Ms Gibbs requested that any prison term be suspended.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston said police had a right to attend the house and they were entitled to feel safe when going about their work.

“You deliberately picked up and deliberately swung the broom handle and it was fortunate for you, and the officer, it did not connect,” she said.

“Significant injury could have been caused.

“It was unfortunate for you this happened on your 21st birthday but you were the cause of that.

“It was your decision to act like that.

“It wasn’t premeditated but you reacted badly to police presence and it was fortunate the officer was not injured from that assault.”

Woods was handed a five-month suspended prison term for assaulting a public officer and a two-month sentence for obstructing police.

Two men and a woman have also been charged with assaulting police who attended the home, but are yet to plead to the charges and will reappear in court next year.

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