‘I have corona, I am sick’: Man allegedly spits at cop
A TOP Townsville inspector says the threat of coronavirus will not stop police from doing their job in wake of a man allegedly spitting on an officer after claiming he was infected with COVID-19.
The 42-year-old Condon man allegedly told police "I have corona, I am sick" before spitting on the police officer and refusing to conduct a breath test at Aitkenvale on Wednesday night.
Betherly Dean Barlow was refused bail at Townsville Magistrates Court yesterday where a prosecutor condemned his actions as "laughing at the outbreak".
His actions come as 11 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Townsville, prompting a score of highly-acclaimed medical professionals to call the State Government to close the North Queensland border.
Barlow's alleged actions mimicked a similar scenario at Coffs Harbour where a person allegedly threatened police with the coronavirus and coughed on an officer.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers condemned the actions, saying police were already working in high-stress environments.
Townsville District Eastern Patrol Group Acting Inspector Steve Batterham echoed Mr Leavers' concerns, saying it could leave officers traumatised in the midst of such uncertain times.
Act Insp Batterham said the team of three officers were finishing up their shift about 9pm when they pulled over a car that mounted a kerb on Charters Towers Rd.
Barlow allegedly spat on the arm of the 37-year-old officer before trying to spit in his direction two more times while being loaded into the police car.
The court heard Barlow was taken to the Townsville University Hospital where he was tested and cleared of COVID-19, despite earlier claiming he had the virus.
Police prosecutor Kellie Mythen told the court it was clear Barlow had "no regard" for others.
Barlow was charged with serious assault of a police officer, driving under the influence of liquor, driving unlicensed and failing to provide a specimen of breath.
Act Insp Batterham said the alleged incidents wasted precious police time in the midst of an already sensitive environment in the community.
"It puts our officers in a vulnerable position … some have elderly parents and if they are exposed to things like this, the trauma put on them goes back to their families," he said.
Mr Leavers said police were battling their own person issues at home.
"Yet as police we bottle that up and turn up to work each day to keep the community safe, while putting our own problems to the side to perform our shift. We are doing it tough too," he said.
Townsville Police officers were already wearing gloves, masks and eye protection when in close contact on jobs to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Barlow was remanded in custody until July 2.
Originally published as 'I have corona, I am sick': Man allegedly spits at cop