Zacharia Ty Lappin
Zacharia Ty Lappin

21yo coughs on cop, punches head during COVID-19 lockdown

APPEARING in Rockhampton Magistrates Court via videolink on Friday, Monto man Zacharia Ty Lappin spent much of his hearing slumped over a table with his head in his hands while the court heard the details of the 19 charges which he pleaded guilty to.

But the most serious two were one count of assault occasioning bodily harm in a public place while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and serious assault of a police officer causing bodily harm, which took the court's focus.

On January 31, the 21-year-old offender approached a man having a smoke outside The Albert Hotel in Monto.

Police Prosecutor Julie Marsden described what happened next and as "king hit" and a "coward punch" which left another man with serious facial injuries including a lacerated brow and a blood nose.

The second major offence took place in the Bundaberg watch house on April 13 when Lappin deliberately coughed on a police officer at the peak of the COVID-19 restrictions, before punching him in the head.

Ms Marsden said the man's 19 combined charges, which had a wide range of offences around the Monto area, showed the young man had no respect for the law.

"He shows complete contempt for other people's property - he thinks he can help himself and do what ever he likes," she said.

Lappin's defence lawyer said the offender had no support from his family and had been on-and-off homeless since his mid-teens.

While not diagnosed with any mental impairment, Lappin's counsel argued that perhaps there were some underlying issues.

Zacharia Ty Lappin
Zacharia Ty Lappin

"The light's are on but at times, nobody's home - Your Honour, even now," the lawyer said as he pointed to the young man on the television screen who remained slumped over the table, motionless as he had been for most of the half-hour his hearing had run.

Lappin's solicitor requested an immediate parole date.

Magistrate Philippa Beckinsale said it was sad that Lappin's offending had pushed his family away.

"Your history as a 21-year-old is significant … you've probably doubled your pages of history today," she said.

She described the seriousness of the unprovoked attack on the man at the Albert Hotel which she said was the most serious charge in his collection.

"People can actually die from a punch that knocks them to the ground, they hit their head, then you're on a murder charge," Magistrate Beckinsale said.

Lappin was sentenced to 18 months' jail for the bulk charges with a parole release date of October 12 considering the time he had already spent in custody.

Magistrate Beckinsale urged the young offender to use his time in prison to seek the help he needed to make sure he would not return to the courts.

Also, 40 hours community service was imposed upon Lappin to which he took grievance with.

"How am I meant to find a normal job? I won't be able to pay rent because I'll be f*****g working for free," he argued.

"No … it's over 12 months, you won't be working 40 hours a week or anything like that - they'll schedule around your work, if you get work," Magistrate Beckinsale responded.

"Any further questions?" she asked the young man.

He shook his head.

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