A South Auckland man has been jailed for 8 1/2 years for knifing a police officer.
Ngatokorua Richard Paiti, aged 29, had admitted wounding Constable Courtney Brunt on May 2 with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.
Passing sentence in the High Court at Auckland yesterday, Justice David Morris said that statistics of attacks on police officers in the course of their duty made disturbing reading.
"They indicate a high level of assaults on officers, and that simply should not occur in a country where we rather pride ourselves on being law-abiding citizens ... The number of assaults indicates a somewhat different story."
Figures show that in the past year there were 1965 assaults on officers, 59 with a weapon. Of these, 19 involved firearms or cutting weapons, and five were stabbings.
Paiti stabbed Constable Brunt when he went with another officer to investigate reports that Paiti had been prowling, naked from the waist down, outside the home of a female neighbour.
Justice Morris said it was a deliberate, speedy and accurate thrust with a vicious weapon.
The attack happened as soon as Paiti opened the door and the officer had no chance to react.
Constable Brunt's bowel was severed and he has had continuing problems with a nerve running to his leg.
Any deviation in the wound, which was close to the spine, could have had much graver consequences.
Justice Morris said the attack had had a traumatic effect on the officer and his family and it now affected how he looked at his job.
If these concerns one day became too much, it would mean the country had lost a man in whom it had invested a lot of time and money to do an essential job.
Handing down the sentence, the judge said that if high calibre people were to be attracted to the force, the courts had to indicate that attacks on officers would be punished severely.
Defence lawyer Satendra Singh said that Paiti, who had drunk a large amount of alcohol, was remorseful.
Justice Morris noted that Paiti's past convictions showed Paiti was a nuisance when he had taken drink, and the present offence showed he was "truly a menace."