Cop ‘may lose finger’ from teen’s cell assault

AN angry teenager has been told a police officer may lose her finger as a result of an assault he committed against her in a cell.

Ipswich Children’s Court has heard the victim has undergone multiple operations to try and save the finger, which was crushed in the door of a watch-house cell.

Appearing via video-link from a juvenile detention centre where he is jailed for other crimes, the 16-year-old youth pleaded guilty to assault causing grievous bodily harm to a police officer at Gatton on March 26.

Crown prosecutor Farook Anoozer sought a jail sentence for the crime.

Defence barrister Cecelia Bernardin outlined a background of illicit drug use by the youth while growing up in the Lockyer Valley.

Ms Bernardin conceded the offence was serious and sought a custodial sentence of no longer than 11 months, and that it be served by way of a conditional release order.

She acknowledged he had been on such an order at the time of the offence for other serious crimes, and on an existing supervised probation order until 2021.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC said the youth was arrested by police for other offences and taken to the Gatton watch-house.

Judge Lynch noted the teenager was acting aggressively inside the cell and a female officer went to assist him.

“You kicked the door and it slammed closed, causing a very serious crush injury to the fingers on her left hand,” Judge Lynch said.

“She was seriously injured and you behaved in a very childish and selfish way directing abuse at her despite her injuries.”

Judge Lynch said the officer was transported to hospital and spent several days receiving medical care.

A surgeon treated a significant fracture to her left index finger which was then stabilised, and the officer was put on pain medication.

In May she had surgery with a bone graft inserted but the officer had been left with a permanent loss of function in the finger.

Judge Lynch said a medical report before the court indicates she has ongoing pain with more surgery to be carried out in the future.

“She potentially faces the loss of a finger,” he said.

“The injury has impacted her daily life and she has not been able to return to work full-time.”

He told the youth, who sat quietly listening, that he must be made aware of the significant impact his conduct had on a person who was trying to help him while going about her duties.

He said the youth was aged 15 years and 9 months at the time, and was now aged 16.

He said he had previously been convicted of two crimes of assaults causing bodily harm when armed in company, and had committed many property crimes.

In February he was sentenced by the Children’s Court for drugs and serious property crime and as penalty received an immediate conditional release order but then committed a more offences.

Judge Lynch said he sentenced the youth in April to a probation order for other offences, and earlier this week he went before the Children’s Court on a large number of property crime charges.

“It shows that your recent behaviour is largely out of control,” he said.

Judge Lynch found it to be a very serious offence and time in custody warranted because of the “lifelong impact” his offending had.

The youth was sentenced to a 12-month detention order, to be released in another 2 ½ months’ time.

A conviction was not recorded because of the likely impact it may have on future employment prospects.