Apology to officer for assault

A Matamata man who drunkenly bashed a Queenstown police officer on the head apologised in person, when their paths crossed in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

David Keith Nicol (31), of Matamata, blocklayer, appeared for sentencing yesterday after pleading guilty to assaulting Sergeant Steve Watt, using a torch as a weapon.

The court heard Nicol had been drinking in the resort and in the early hours of October 22 was denied entry to a bar because the staff considered him intoxicated.

The defendant left before police could arrive and he tried to get entry to another bar, but was refused again.

When police caught up with Nicol, he turned his drunken abuse from bar staff to the officers.

He was arrested and taken to Queenstown police station.

Sgt Watt was fingerprinting Nicol when the defendant snatched the torch from the officer's belt and hit him with it. The blow caused a small cut to the back of Sgt Watt's head, which required medical attention.

Nicol appeared on November 5, asked for a sentencing indication from Judge Michael Turner and pleaded guilty. His case was remanded for more reports to be filed.

The judge at Nicol's next appearance questioned his remorse and his view he was the victim. The matter was remanded until yesterday.

Judge Turner said yesterday given Nicol showed no insight or remorse for his actions, he was prepared to start sentencing afresh, but Nicol's defence said his feeling of being victimised referred to him not being allowed into bars on the night.

Nicol did not dispute striking Sgt Watt and he apologised to the officer in person. Sgt Watt confirmed in court to Judge Turner he had received an apology and he believed it was sincere.

''You have a bad history,'' the judge told Nicol in the dock.

''Repeat offending of this nature will lead to a period of imprisonment for you.''

Nicol was convicted and sentenced to three months' home detention in Matamata, from February 1. Nicol was ordered to complete rehabilitation and not to possess or consume alcohol.

The defendant was sentenced to 75 hours' community work and ordered to pay $300 in emotional harm reparation to Sgt Watt.