Haast man jailed for attack on policeman

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The court heard that Sadler, who was drinking at the time, pushed a woman friend against a wall, poured beer over her head and then rubbed it into her hair. Photo / File
The court heard that Sadler, who was drinking at the time, pushed a woman friend against a wall, poured beer over her head and then rubbed it into her hair. Photo / File

An attack on an experienced sole-charge policeman that led him to fear for his safety has resulted in a Haast man being jailed for 16 months.

Grant David Sadler, 54, appeared for sentencing before Judge Jane Farish in the Greymouth District Court on Friday afternoon on charges of assault with a weapon, assault, intentional damage, resisting arrest and using threatening language. He pleaded guilty to the charges last month

The court heard that on December 16 last year Sadler, who was drinking at the time, pushed a woman friend against a wall, poured beer over her head and then rubbed it into her hair.

Haast constable Paul Gurney was called to deal with the incident at Okuru and decided to pick up Sadler's employer along the way, just in case his help was needed.

Sadler seemed co-operative when Mr Gurney first arrived but when he realised he was likely to be arrested he became aggressive, telling Mr Gurney that he was not going to be handcuffed.

Mr Gurney drew his taser and Sadler responded by picking up a large rock in two hands, before moving towards Mr Gurney, telling him: "I'm going to smash your head in."

Mr Gurney fired his taser at Sadler but missed, so he ran back to his police car to call for assistance.

While at the car he grabbed his pepper spray and sprayed it at Sadler. However, Sadler blocked the spray with the stone he was carrying before smashing it onto the police car at least four times.

He then picked up pieces of broken stone and began throwing them at Mr Gurney's head, telling him: "I'm going to smash you."

Mr Gurney managed to recharge his taser, which he successfully used on Sadler, who was then restrained and handcuffed with help from the public.

Judge Farish told Sadler that Mr Gurney, an experienced sole-charge policeman who backed himself to defuse most situations peacefully, believed he was going to be seriously harmed.

It was the first time in his policing career that he genuinely felt afraid for his safety, she said.

He was vulnerable, given that that he was alone and back-up was 140km away at Franz Josef, and the attack led him to give serious consideration as to whether he was in the right job.

The threatening language charge stemmed from another altercation, this time on February 20 this year when Sadler was on bail over the earlier attack, with tenants Sadler wanted to evict.

Again he had been drinking, against his bail conditions, when he told the tenants they had three weeks to get out or he would kill them.

Judge Farish told Sadler that drinking alcohol was a big issue for him. However, when he was sober he was a productive member of the community.

In sentencing Sadler Judge Farish told him the attack on Mr Gurney, a police officer who was alone and acting in relation to his duty, was too serious for her to consider a sentence of community detention. She said police were entitled to be protected and respected.

Sadler was also ordered to pay reparation of $829 for damage to the police car.

- Greymouth Star

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