A leniant cop who chose not to handcuff a drunk man was rewarded with a punch in the face.
Terrance Alex McLeod, 24, Masterton bricklayer, had been drinking after attending the funeral of a friend on September 6, according to the police summary of facts read in the Masterton District Court.
Police noticed McLeod in Perry St, about 10pm, walking all over the road and behaving aggressively towards passing vehicles, and took him into custody to be detoxed.
McLeod was not handcuffed because he had been initially reasonable to deal with, but as he was driven back to the station he punched a constable in the face.
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In explanation, he said he had become "incensed" when the officer asked him what he was celebrating, because he had been mourning.
Defence lawyer Virginia Pearson said McLeod had been trying to stay out of trouble, and had it not been for the funeral that day and the events that followed, he may well have been able to carry on that path. He was now off alcohol, she said.
Judge Chris Tuohy said the constable's victim-impact statement mentioned he had been trying to treat McLeod with "dignity" and as a result got a black eye.
Judge Tuohy said he had thought of giving McLeod a short prison sentence but decided that would be "over the top".
Instead, McLeod was sentenced to 150 hours' community work.
"[We] can't have a police officer doing his job and getting hit," the judge said.