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Court charge for spitting on police officer

STICKING up for her boyfriend proved costly for one young Warwick woman who spat on a police officer during an arrest.

Shannon Leigh Whitecross, 18, began foul-mouthing police officers on June 22 as they arrested her partner for public nuisance outside a CBD licensed premises.

Her actions meant she too landed herself a public nuisance charge, plus assault on a police officer, and the single mother was taken to the watch house at about 2am.

The arrest was made after the pub had closed, when police were patrolling the area and noticed a man causing a disturbance.

As they arrested him, Whitecross intervened.

Despite being told to stop yelling expletives at the officers, the Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday heard she refused to keep quiet.

Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan said she replied to police something along the lines of, "I can call them anything I want because all I will get is a slap on the wrist from the court".

When police were hand-cuffing the intoxicated woman, Wiggan said she turned over her shoulder to the arresting officer and spat on him.

The court heard Whitecross has consumed the better part of a bottle of spirits before she got to the pub at 10pm where she continued drinking.

She spent about seven hours in custody and was released at about 8.30am.

Magistrate Graham Lee said spitting on a police officer was considered a serious assault, and Whitecross was lucky it did not land on the officer's face or eyes.

"Spitting is a very serious offence," Mr Lee said.

"It's a matter of luck rather than good management that the spit landed on his jacket and not on his skin."

If it had, Mr Lee said that officer would have had to undergo a series of tests and health checks, and the offender's penalties would have most likely involved jail time.

Whitecross was given one month imprisonment with immediate parole, a fine of $150 referred to SPER and no conviction recorded.

Topics:  crime police public nuisance



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