Accused gets 250 hours of unpaid work

A DRUNKEN Mildura man who struck a policewoman in the head as officers tried to move him away from a CBD nightspot has been ordered to complete 250 hours’ unpaid community work.

Magistrate Andrew Capell told Viliame Namoumou that it was the longest community work order he had ever made but stopped short of sending the 26-year-old to jail.

Namoumou had been drinking heavily leading up to the incident on October 21 which left the senior constable in “excruciating pain” and “shaking uncontrollably”, the Mildura Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

Namoumou was asked to move away by police several times as they arrested his friend for being drunk in public outside an Eighth Street nightspot.

But instead of leaving the scene, Namoumou stood still and refused to leave, swinging his arm out at the officer as they arrested him.

The court heard the officer had already warned Namoumou she would use pepper spray if he did not step back.

As he was being arrested, Namoumou suddenly swung his arm, striking the officer in the forehead and causing her to drop the spray can and stagger away in pain.

The court heard the police officer was dizzy at work the next day and sustained a large lump to her forehead.

Namoumou’s counsel Anne Hennessy asked Mr Capell not to send him to jail, even though he had previously served time for violent offences.

The court heard Namoumou had been trying to move on his drunken friend but did not listen to police when they told him to move on too.

“This time, he instructs me, he did not go out looking for trouble,” Ms Hennessy said.

Ms Hennessy said Namoumou, a father of two young children, was the main breadwinner in his family and had endured a disadvantaged upbringing in his native Fiji.

Mr Capell said he initially intended to send Namoumou to jail but spared him a prison sentence because of the effect it would have on his family.

The magistrate said a victim impact statement written by the police officer said the incident had affected her confidence on the job.

“You deliberately went out that night with a skinful, including vodka, and continued to drink knowing that you can behave that way and you did,” Mr Capell said.

Namoumou pleaded guilty and was placed on a two-year corrections order, ordered to complete 250 hours’ unpaid work and fined $400.

Mr Capell also banned Namoumou from attending bars and nightclubs and drinking alcohol at cafes and sports clubs for two years.

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