A man who knocked a prison officer unconscious earlier this
year has had six months added to his sentence.
Herbert Marsden, 33, was approaching the end of a five and
a-half year prison term when he punched the 50 year-old
officer in retaliation for disciplinary charges three days
earlier, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.
After the unprovoked one-punch attack, Marsden stood over the
then unconscious officer and said "That's what you get for
charging me", before waiting to be returned to his cell.
The officer laid the internal prison charges of inciting on
April 29 because Marsden had been encouraging two other
inmates who had barricaded themselves in their cell to
continue disrupting and damaging the unit, the summary from
Crown counsel Richard Smith said.
The defendant was released from his cell about 8am on May 2
by the victim and two other officers. He walked out and was
subjected to a "rubdown search".
Immediately afterwards, Marsden turned towards the victim
and, without warning, punched him once on the side of the
face. It was a full force blow which knocked the officer off
his feet and rendered him unconscious, the summary said.
After the officer staggered to his feet, he helped his two
colleagues lock the defendant in his cell.
The victim had a swollen left cheek, swelling and a cut to
his inside upper lip, a stiff neck and a sore shoulder, lower
back and hip.
Marsden admitted a Crimes Act assault and was sentenced to
six months' jail, the term to be cumulative on his existing
Judge Michael Crosbie said the defendant was fortunate to be
charged with a Crimes Act assault which carried a one-year
Given the circumstances, the Crown could have proceeded on a
far more serious charge.
The increase in the number of assaults on prison officers was
a matter of concern, the judge said.
A clear message was needed that those who assaulted
Corrections officers would be dealt with severely.
Prison was "not a two-way street". Those who were in prison
were expected to comply and prison officers should receive
the full support of the law in carrying out their duties,
Judge Crosbie said.