Judge orders release of man

The Wanaka man who allegedly attacked a police officer in April was released yesterday with no further penalty after earlier being found unfit to stand trial.

In the Queenstown District Court yesterday, Judge Christina Cook said after a recent assessment by a doctor and a thorough assessment of his history and current position, she was ordering the immediate release of Peter John Barratt (72) ''without any further penalty''.

Last month he was found mentally unfit to plead to charges of resisting arrest, assaulting and threatening to kill Senior Constable Sean Hurley and Constable Peter Reed.

He had been in a remand cell in Invercargill prison while awaiting a bed in a secure unit at Wakari Hospital in Dunedin.

His counsel, Nic Soper, told the court yesterday there was no need for Barratt to be detained as a special patient.

He was not making any application for a permanent stay of prosecution, so it was open to the prosecutor to re-lay charges in the future if police saw fit.

Judge Cook said she had dealt with this case on several occasions and two recent reports both concluded Barratt was unfit to stand trial.

There was no application for a final stay, so she did not order that.