Man jailed for threatening to drop a rock on officer's head

A Dunedin man who bit and spat at police, and threatened to drop a rock on an officer’s head has been jailed for eight months.

Reece Bayden Berland-Skerrett (35) will be released from prison soon, however, because of the time he has spent on remand awaiting sentencing.

The Dunedin District Court heard yesterday how the man’s belligerence with police resulted in his arrest four times within seven months.

The spree of aggression began on November 28 when officers were called to a home to issue Berland-Skerrett with a safety order.

If they touched him, the defendant said, he would attack.

The threat got him pepper-sprayed and hauled to the station where his hostility again became apparent.

When officers attempted to remove Berland-Skerrett’s piercings, he lashed out, kicking one repeatedly and biting another on the forearm.

The defendant laughed at the carnage he had created then spat in the face of the man he had bitten.

When later interviewed, he said he “knows people” and would have a rock dropped on the constable’s head.

The next month, Berland-Skerrett was caught driving while disqualified and refused to give a blood specimen.

Then in April, police again saw him behind the wheel, contrary to his bail conditions.

“Do not touch me or I will have to use my training,” the defendant threatened when he was arrested. Berland-Skerrett taunted officers as they struggled to handcuff him.

“You guys aren’t very tough, are you.”

He was pepper-sprayed into compliance, the court heard.

When police went to his home in June, they found cannabis plants and he resisted when they tried to remove him.

An officer who Berland-Skerrett threatened to kill met him recently for a restorative justice conference.

The defendant acknowledged what he had done was “the dumbest thing at the dumbest time” and the victim accepted his apology.

Judge David Robinson said it appeared Berland-Skerrett now realised “police are not to be your punching bag”.

“I’m hopeful that through your participation in that [conference], next time you’re confronted by police, who are frankly only doing their job, you’ll think and reflect on your behaviour.”

Counsel Karlena Lawrence said her client’s wayward conduct resulted from a traumatic past. She said he had counselling in prison and got medication to help his mood.

Berland-Skerrett was banned from driving for six months with an alcohol-interlock regime to follow.




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