Decision on assault reserved

Last updated 11:30 21/09/2012

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A Dunedin man appeared in Blenheim District Court on Wednesday facing four charges, including two of assaulting two Blenheim police officers in the courthouse.

Colin Gordon Webb, 56, a transport operator, denied assaulting police prosecutor Sergeant Graham Single and commercial vehicle inspection officer Senior Constable Douglas Jackson with intent to injure at Blenheim District Court on December 9 last year. He also denied two other charges of disorderly behaviour and trespassing on the same day.

Judge Stephen Harrop reserved his decision until next month, saying "there was a dramatic contrast in the overall description of events".

On the day of the incident, Webb was at a defended hearing over a traffic matter that occurred in Spring Creek last year. Mr Jackson was the sole witness to the hearing, having laid the charge against Webb.

Police prosecutor Mark Harris said Webb was disruptive, argumentative and disrespectful during the hearing. He was angry at the guilty verdict handed down and the one month suspension of his licence, Mr Harris said.

When the court session was over, Webb was slow to leave, and Mr Single put a hand on his shoulder to usher him out the door.

Webb cried "assault", fell to the ground, and a scuffle ensued, Mr Harris said. Webb refused to get up and bit Mr Jackson on the thigh. Mr Jackson grabbed pepper spray from Mr Single's holster and sprayed Webb twice in the eyes, Mr Harris said.

Webb's lawyer, Donald Matthews, said his client was sprayed with pepper spray and bit Mr Jackson in defence after being "thighed" in the head by Mr Jackson.

He was then handcuffed and put in the court cell until police backup from the Blenheim station arrived.

The court heard from Webb's daughter, Rachel Ann Webb, who was at the court on December 9. She said her father was assaulted by the police officers and he was only defending himself.

Witness for the Crown, court registrar Neroli Kay, said the police did not use force on Webb and he threw himself to the ground without reason.

Judge Harrop said a decision would be made before October 19 and extended Webb's bail until then.

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- The Marlborough Express

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