He had 25 priors, then spat on police officer

A 37-YEAR-OLD man with an "abhorrent" criminal history has been jailed for spitting in the face of a police officer at Nambour.

Jason Anthony Brandon, of Kulangoor, already had at least 25 prior convictions for assault or obstructing police officers when he pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court this week on charges of public nuisance and the serious assault of a police officer.

He was drunk and abusing staff and customers at a Nambour hotel on April 8 when police arrested him for causing a public nuisance.

When put in the back of a police vehicle, he leaned around a Perspex divider to spit at one of the officers.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Stuart Lydford said the spittle had struck the officer on the mouth and side of the face, and on his trousers and the vehicle's dashboard.

The court heard that Brandon had been diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Snr Const Lydford said the officer understood the chance of disease transmission was limited, given the volume of saliva that hit him.

Mr Brandon's lawyer said his client was a chronic paranoid schizophrenic who had gone undiagnosed for many years and resorted to alcohol to self-medicate.

He said Brandon's drinking escalated and progressed to alcoholism after the deaths of four close friends and his father 10 years ago.

The lawyer said Brandon had fought to get his drinking under control.

He said he thought he would be okay to have a couple of beers at a 21st birthday party on April 8 but had become carried away with other partygoers.

Snr Const Lydford said Brandon had an "abhorrent history" with 31 previous convictions for assault and obstructing police.

However, Magistrate Annette Hennessy said she could only count 25 on his criminal history.

Ms Hennessy said spitting was a "disgusting act directed towards anyone" and would have been humiliating at the least for the police officer involved.

She took into account that alcohol and Brandon's schizophrenia contributed to the incident but said his behaviour could not be put down solely to those two issues.

Brandon was sentenced to 12 months in jail.

The magistrate, taking into account Brandon's guilty plea and the length of time already spent in pre-sentence custody, set a parole release date of February 7.


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