Spitting on officer earns prison time
MAIKA Vale came to Australia to play football but could be forced to return to Fiji with those dreams unfulfilled.
Vale pleaded guilty to obstructing police in performance of duties, and serious assault of a public officer when he appeared in Emerald Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke provided details of the case, explaining police were called to a disturbance where Vale had suffered head injuries and required an ambulance to attend to him.
While the ambulance officer was providing treatment, the footballer spat a combination of spit, vomit and blood in close proximity, and hit the officer on the face and in the mouth.
The court heard Vale had come to Australia to play football but on arriving faced significant personal problems resulting in him being drunk the night of the incident.
Mr Clarke said while it was likely Vale's visa would be suspended, he could not ignore the impact the crime had on the ambulance officer.
Mr Clarke said the officer was so affected, he couldn't stand to look at Vale.
Police prosecutor Renae Cannon said the ambulance officer was still waiting results of disease testing, and the incident had caused him extreme stress.
Reading from a victim impact statement, Senior Constable Cannon said the officer now felt anxious and was questioning his role as an ambulance officer.
Vale's solicitor Charles Shepherd told the court his client had apologised for his actions.
Mr Clarke acknowledged that Vale had conducted himself appropriately during court appearances but imposed a penalty of nine months imprisonment, suspended after serving three months.
He took into account the time Vale has served in pre-sentence custody from February 7 to March 20 and declared that as time served on the sentence.
Mr Clarke said Vale would be due for release on May 7 but may well be deported from the country once released.
Convictions were recorded.