'The next minute he was in danger of losing an ear'
UPDATE: The Police Association of New South Wales (PANSW) have voiced concern about the volatility of the Christmas-New Year period and out-of-control behaviour after a police officer was allegedly violently bitten on the ear in Lismore, yesterday.
A man attended court yesterday faced with the assault following the incident which occurred at a licensed premises on Keen Street.
"Just last night one of our members who came to the assistance of a 71-year-old security guard was viciously assaulted at licensed premises in Lismore," says Tony King, PANSW President.
"One minute this off-duty senior constable was having a peaceful night with colleagues - as normally happens every night with co-workers across the nation at this time of year - and the next minute he was in danger of losing an ear and rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
"This 40-year-old off-duty officer unselfishly and bravely intervened to protect the safety of the 71-year-old security guard who was being punched.
"Now he will, as so many officers before and after him, carry a scar for the rest of his life. The impacts of vicious assaults like this endure long after recovery and also impact on family and friends.
"Sadly the risk of violence and out-of-control behaviour fuelled by alcohol and drugs will likely increase in the Christmas and New Year," says Tony King.
"Our members perform professional work that involves responding to community needs around the clock, 24/7. There is no ordinary day or night.
"What we want on behalf of our members is for them to be able to go about their duties and their everyday lives safely, without being put in peril of serious injury as has occurred repeatedly in 2019.
"In 2020 we want to see the offence committed by violent attacks on police taken more seriously by magistrates.
"Some members of the judiciary understand this. Earlier this week at Hornsby Court, for instance, Magistrate Bruce Williams said, at a sentencing for an assault on a police officer, that 'Anyone assaulting a police officer is dealt with more seriously'.
"That itself is a message that needs to be heard and acted on more often, more consistently and more widely".
ORIGINAL: A man will attend court today faced with charges of assault after allegedly biting a police officer's ear in Lismore.
About 12.15am today, December 14, an off-duty senior constable from Richmond Police District was at a licensed premises on Keen Street, Lismore with other off-duty officers.
The 40-year-old senior constable noticed a man at the same licensed premises allegedly heavily intoxicated and pushing patrons and acting inappropriately on the dance floor.
The senior constable approached the man and asked him to stop.
The man allegedly continued his inappropriate behaviour.
The senior constable alerted the private security guard at the premises who approached the man.
Police will allege the man assaulted the 71-year-old security guard by punching him in the mouth.
The senior constable and other officers went to the aid of the security guard. At that time, the man allegedly placed the senior constable in a headlock and bit the top of his ear, causing a significant injury.
The man was restrained by other off-duty officers and security.
He allegedly continued to behave aggressively, allegedly threatening police with harm.
He was arrested and taken to Lismore Police Station.
The officer was taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a stable condition. He is expected to undergo specialist surgery to have his ear repaired.
The 40-year-old man was charged with a number of offences and refused bail. He will appear in Lismore Local Court to face charged of causing grievous bodily harm with intent; assault occasioning actual bodily harm; affray; intimidating police; resist police; assault police; destroy or damage property.