Woman 'sorry' for kicking policeman in groin

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013
Roberta Harrison
FAIRFAX NZ
TEARFUL APPEARANCE: Roberta Harrison leaves court.

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A woman delivered a "rugby punt" to a police officer's groin and spat "thick globules of mucus and saliva" at him, a court has been told.

Judge Richard Watson told Roberta Harrison, 44, in the Napier District Court that never in his 23 years on the bench had he heard of anyone reacting so violently.

Harrison, of Maraenui, Napier, launched her first onslaught when her partner was pulled over for suspected drink-driving on Sunday night. She became abusive and was "warned for her vile behaviour in the middle of the street", a police summary said.

An hour later, at 8.35pm, she was found driving her partner's car alone in the suburb of Maraenui.

Police followed her into her driveway. When a sergeant tried to speak to her, she launched into a "relentless barrage of vile abuse".

She refused to take a breath test, or to go to the police station for a breath or blood test.

She continued her "vile abuse" and "kicked the sergeant in the testicles with a very forceful right-foot kick, similar to a rugby punt".

At this point, her partner tried to restrain her. But the abuse continued and she kicked the sergeant in the upper thigh five times.

The sergeant managed to handcuff her and, with her partner's help, got her into the police car.

Back-up arrived and it took several officers to restrain her.

"During the fracas, she kicked [the sergeant] several times and attempted to kick him 20 times while making threats to assault him, and spat on him with thick globules of mucus and saliva," the summary said.

At the police station, Harrison refused to supply her details and continued her abuse. She refused to co-operate with tests and kicked the officer's ankles and knee before trying to kick him in the groin again.

She later pushed another officer. She would not explain her behaviour but "continued to abuse police for several hours".

Harrison admitted three charges of assaulting officers, as well as resisting arrest, refusing to accompany an officer, refusing to provide blood, and refusing to provide details.

Her lawyer, Phil Jensen, said she was "enormously ashamed" and felt the best way of saying sorry was by pleading guilty early.

Judge Richard Watson said most people pulled over for breath tests responded in a "civilised and courteous way". "Never in my experience have I read a summary such as this, where you reacted so violently to what these officers were simply doing in the course of their duty to keep our roads safe."

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He accepted that many traumatic factors caused her to be stressed, but said: "I just don't get it."

Harrison was sentenced to 120 hours' community work, fined $200 plus court costs of $130, and banned from driving for six months.

She wept throughout her appearance and said "sorry" before being led away.

- The Dominion Post

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