A MAN ordered to complete 200 hours of community service for spitting at a police officer has had his conviction overturned on appeal.
Aaron James Corby, 36, of Hawkins Lane appealed his January sentence from Orange Local Court for assaulting police.
He also received a 15-month good behaviour bond at the time for resisting police and was fined $440 for failing to leave the Hotel Orange.
According to police, officers approached Corby after seeing him hitting the hotel’s window and trying to get past a security guard at the main entrance.
He had already been refused service four times and had to be physically carried out by security staff.
Police said Corby was sprayed twice with capsicum spray for not obeying police directions, including not giving his name.
He also swore at police, would not relax his arms to be handcuffed and was warned more than once about spitting.
In Orange District Court on Monday, Corby gave evidence his girlfriend had broken up with him prior to the incident, but sent him a series of text messages during the evening.
“The premise was [her partner] was more of a man than I’ll ever be,” he said.
He said the messgaes led him to drink more alcohol than he normally would.
Corby told the court the first thing he remembered was being capsicum sprayed.
“My eyes, my nose and even my lips were quite warm and I was trying to get the stuff out of my mouth really,” he said.
He said he did not intend to spit on the police officer.
“What I’m most embarrassed about is having the word ‘assault’ beside my name, I’m very ashamed,” he said.
Barrister Bill Walsh said 200 hours’ community service was difficult for a person in full-time employment to complete and his client deserved a second chance.
“The court can have confidence that this man is most unlikely to re-offend,” he said.
Solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ben Page, said there should be a conviction recorded for the assault charge.
“Circumstances like this whereby a person has consumed too much alcohol, fuelling further altercations with police, is far too common,” he said.
Judge Julia Baly accepted Corby’s level of intoxication as a mitigating factor.
“I accept Mr Corby acted in an out-of-character way, both in so far as his drinking was concerned, but also his conduct,” she said.
She told Corby the magistrate had put it right when he told Corby he was “built like a girl, so [he] should be drinking like a girl”.
Judge Baly ordered Corby to be of good behaviour for the next year.