Cop’s lasting trauma from gas bottle attack
A police officer has wiped away tears as she described the impact of an attack on her and a colleague in which a man hurled a flaming gas bottle at their car and pointed a gun at them.
An emotional Senior Constable Susan Cabot told the District Court today that it remains her belief that Christopher George Smolinski, 38, was trying to kill her and colleague Aleisha Westby when they were confronted at his Huntfield Heights house in March last year.
Smolinski has pleaded guilty to multiple charges including attempted aggravated assault against a police officer, arson and multiple firearms and drug offences, over a frightening incident in which he shattered a patrol car windscreen with the gas bottle.
As an impassive Smolinski watched from the dock - his parents in the gallery - Cabot told the court the incident had left a mark on her that would always remain.
"Although I have been in situations of physical danger before where I have felt threatened and fearful, this situation was different," the mother of young children said, at times pausing to compose herself.
"This offender was acting on a plan or purpose to kill me. The way he moved with confidence that day, the way he made eye contact with me with a hint of a smirk on his face and the way he advanced towards our patrol car.
"As the event unfolded I said to my patrol partner that he was trying to kill us and I felt it on that day and I still do now."
Prosecutor Katie-Jane Orr read Ms Westby's victim impact statement to the court in which Ms Westby described how Smolinski's "decisive action" of lighting the gas bottle had "shocked me to the core"
"I could've been killed or received serious life-changing injuries, this causes me sleepless and restless nights thinking about it," she said.
Smolinski's lawyer Mark Seddon said there had been a "deterioration" in his client's personal circumstances leading up to the offending and that he was suffering from mental health issues.
The court heard that prior to police attending his house, Smolinski had earlier had a confrontation with a police officer.
Mr Seddon, said his client admitted lighting the flare to the gas bottle and throwing it at the police.
"He also admits pointing the firearm at police, the firearm was not at working order at the time," he said.
He said Smolinski had created a situation "that was so fraught and dangerous that he thought police would make a decision to kill him" and that he had "begged police to kill him".
"My client accepts it was quite a traumatic experience for the police officers involved," Mr Seddon said.
"The offending was, in my opinion … consistent with a disordered mind."
He requested that Judge Julie McIntyre take into account time served when she hands down her sentence on July 27.
Originally published as Cop's lasting trauma from gas bottle attack