Timaru woman found guilty of obstructing resisting and assaulting police
A Timaru woman fought "like a serpent" and spat at, kicked, and screamed at police as they were trying to arrest her, a court has been told.
Jasmine Rewmoana Brundell, 29, was found guilty at a judge alone trial in the Timaru District Court of two charges of assaulting police, and one each of obstructing and resisting police.
Sergeant Greg Sutherland told the court that just after midnight on April 4, police were at the Richard Pearse Tavern in Timaru, arresting Timaru man Damien Douglas Kavanaugh for breaching his bail conditions by drinking alcohol.
When Sutherland told Kavanaugh he would have to be arrested, he told police he wouldn't "go without a fight", and approached Sutherland with "fists clenched".
Sutherland said he pepper-sprayed Kavanaugh in the face.
Under questioning from defence counsel Kelly Beazley, Sutherland said as soon as he sprayed Kavanaugh, the defendant "came flying in from the left".
He said it was possible Brundell was affected by running "into the cloud of spray".
Sutherland said she wrapped her arms around Kavanaugh's back and locked on "like a possum", preventing police from getting control as "the defendant was in the way".
Sutherland told the court she "was still fighting like a serpent".
Sergeant Nerida Manson said when she was called to assist, she saw two officers trying to "restrain a female" who was "struggling wildly in an attempt to get away".
Manson said Brundell continued to struggle while she was in the back of the police car being driven to Timaru Police Station.
In the charge room at the station Brundell "yelled abuse at me, refused to follow instructions and struggled and spat", she said.
A spit hood was put on her but she "continued to scream, kicking and yelling", Manson said.
"She was just screaming ... it was just a scream, it wasn't words."
When the defendant calmed down slightly she was stood back up, and kicked out behind her, connecting with Manson's right leg.
Video evidence played to the court showed the kick.
Beazley asked Constable Hinemoa McMahon if she saw any spit from Brundell land on her.
McMahon said she "felt something, it felt wet and I looked at my arms. She was taken to the ground, it happened quite fast".
In her evidence, Brundell said when Kavanaugh was pepper-sprayed she was standing on his "right hand side".
Brundell said the pepper spray was sprayed in a "side to side motion ... I got hit directly as well ... we both went down, saying it was burning and stinging".
Crown prosecutor Nyssa Winchester asked Brundell if she had been "struggling and kicking" and obstructing police when she was being arrested.
Brundell replied she had "not necessarily" done that.
"I was physically reacting to being pepper-sprayed", Brundell replied.
"I was yelling and screaming, saying my face was stinging and my eyes were burning and I couldn't breathe.
Winchester asked Brundell if she had kicked Manson in the legs, and Brundell said yes.
The prosecutor asked Brundell if that was a "reasonable action".
"Would you like to press play on that video [evidence] again ...they were tugging at my arms, my arms were going up ... my fingers were going down, I was screaming, I jerked in reaction to how I was being treated," she responded.
In his verdict Judge Alistair Garland said he "preferred the evidence of the police to that of the defendant".
"Their evidence was consistent, it follows logically ... it is consistent with her [Brundell's] demeanour on CCTV. It's quite clear that she was reluctant and uncooperative with the police.
"I am sure the defendant did spit, she did that deliberately and the mucus made contact with the body of the constable.
"I do not find her evidence either credible or reliable ...I am sure she was highly agitated, aggressive and abusive".
Brundell was convicted and sentenced to 150 hours' community work.