Police assault charges go to 'Section 9' hearing

A Wanaka man accused of assaulting police and making threats to kill is likely to have a mental health assessment.

Peter John Barratt (72) appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday facing four charges relating to an incident on April 10 in which a senior constable suffered head, eye and rib injuries.

Solicitor Nic Soper, representing Barratt, said: ''I have had several discussions with Mr Barratt and real difficulty obtaining coherent or consistent responses.''

The case was adjourned without plea until May 9 for a ''Section 9'' hearing in Invercargill, for police to demonstrate there is a case to answer.

If the case proceeds, Barratt will be assessed by a forensic nurse under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003.

Barratt is charged with assaulting Senior Constable Sean Hurley and threatening to kill Snr Const Hurley, his daughters and Constable Peter Reed.

Barratt is also charged with drink-driving with a reading of 751mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, having been convicted twice previously.

The legal limit is 400mcg. He is also charged with resisting arrest.

A police statement after the incident said Snr Const Hurley had stopped a motorist in Makarora for a routine breath test after road workers reported a suspected drink driver heading towards Wanaka.

After failing the test, the motorist was asked to accompany Snr Const Hurley to Wanaka.

On the way, the motorist is alleged to have kicked the officer in the head and attempted to gouge his eye.

Wanaka sub-area commander senior sergeant Allan Grindell says Snr Const Hurley stopped his car and restrained the man before continuing.

However, the man began ''playing up'' in the back seat again as the car approached the Makarora Country Caf, so Snr Const

Hurley pulled over, restrained him again and radioed for help.