Police call assault sentence ‘inadequate’

September 19, 2013 | By More

police-carA sentence imposed on a man with a history of repeated attacks on the police has been criticised by the police as “manifestly inadequate”.

Prosecutor Sergeant Dave Murray took the relatively unusual step of putting the police views before the judge at a police sentencing, for Daniel Andrew McNally who has 12 previous convictions for assaulting or resisting the police.

McNally, 40, is a former boxer whose 22 violence convictions include the punching of former Christian Heritage Party leader Graham Capill who had admitted child sex abuse charges, outside the Court House in 2005.

McNally was charged over an incident which arose when he was a passenger in a car that was stopped in Manchester Street at 2am on May 25. He admitted charges of assault, assaulting the police, possession of cannabis, and failing to provide his name and address when required.

Community Probation recommended a sentence of community detention and intensive supervision, and defence counsel David Bunce said McNally had been held in custody on remand for seven weeks after his arrest, before being granted electronically monitored bail.

He said McNally had apologised for punching the woman police officer in the struggle, saying he had hit her accidentally when trying to hit the male officer.

Sergeant Murray told the court: “The recommendation is manifestly inadequate to address the seriousness of the offending. This was serious violence against police officers acting in accordance with their duty. Deterrence and denounciation requires a much more serious penalty.”

He pointed out that McNally had 39 previous sentences of imprisonment including 22 for violence, 18 for general disorder, 10 for alcohol offences, and 12 for breaches of court orders and sentences.

McNally said he had recognised the male officer as being a policeman who had beaten him up seven years ago, but accepted that he should have “forgiven and forgotten”.

Judge Moran said the police summary described McNally lashing out and striking the woman constable accidentally. She had swelling and tenderness to her face from the blow, but the male officer fell awkwardly during the struggle and was off work for six weeks with damage from a twisted knee.

“The police are entitled to expect the courts to back them up, especially when they are assaulted and injured as in this case.”

He said the time McNally had spent in custody, and his period on electronically monitored bail, would mean that he would be released quite soon if a prison term were imposed. It was better to impose a sentence that meant he would be under the supervision of the probation service for much longer.

He imposed five months of community detention at his McNally’s Riccarton address with a curfew from 8pm to 6am nightly, and a year of intensive supervision with special conditions.

Category: Focus

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