I know our prisons are at bursting point but the sentence handed down to a man that punched a police officer several times in the face is ridiculous.

The maximum penalty for this crime is three years in prison but the judge decided that Kent O'Keefe's penalty would be just 100 hours' community work.

That's a slap in the face for the officer who was called out in the early hours of Christmas morning to an altercation.

What a lovely Christmas present for him and his family.

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At the age of 34, O'Keefe has 20 previous convictions. Obviously he has absolutely no respect for the law.

What message does this sentence give to our young people. It's okay to bash police, you'll probably just have to paint a hall or sweep up some leaves.

The police officer has a young family. Imagine what his children thought on Christmas morning when dad greeted them with a cut-up face.

We are living in a society of increased violence. A lot of it because of drugs and alcohol and this needs to be addressed.

Offenders do need rehabilitation programmes - perhaps O'Keefe's sentence should have at least included an anger management course.


But our first priority should be to look after the people who are looking after us.
Families of police officers all over the country should be outraged at this sentence. As New Zealand Police Association vice-president Luke Shadbolt said: "It wouldn't be acceptable in any other job. People don't go to work and get assaulted."

How true.