A veteran Portland smelter worker, who rammed a police divisional van because he was unhappy about officers parking in front of a supermarket, has been fined $1500.
Lance Oswald, 63, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court on Monday to damaging an emergency service vehicle, for which the maximum penalty is a five-year jail term.
In sentencing on Wednesday, Judge George Georgiou said that police officers were on patrol on March 25, 2019, when they were called to the Portland Aldi supermarket, where it was reported that a man was abusing people at the front of the store.
When they arrived they parked directly in front of the entrance and one officer was told by staff the abusive male had headed off towards a bus stop on Henty Street.
Oswald then approached the second officer and in colourful language questioned why the divi van was parked where it was.
He pointed out there was a nearby vacant park.
The divi van was parked in front of the supermarket for about 90 seconds.
Oswald was told to mind his own business and words were exchanged with a female police officer who in the end said: "How about you piss off you silly c....".
Judge Georgiou said while police had an at times difficult and frustrating job that the words used by the officer were "most unfortunate to say the least".
Oswald left in his car, did a U-turn on Henty Street and was seen yelling by an off-duty police officer before he returned and drove slowly towards the police van, ramming it.
The judge described the collision as of low-speed impact, but the passenger door could not be opened and the female officer had to climb out a window.
Oswald was arrested and his car impounded.
The incident was seen by several witnesses and captured on security camera footage.
The divisional van cost $2411.83 to repair.
Oswald was initially charged with three serious offences, two of which involved mandatory prison sentences, and Judge Georgio said the defendant faced the real prospect of serving time in jail.
Oswald indicated a guilty plea in early May this to the more minor charge of causing damage to an emergency services vehicle, a charge he had indicated he would admit to after being arrested.
A medical report indicated Oswald had been distracted and zoning out since 2015, he could not remember events and was diagnosed with focal epilepsy, anxiety, he was also increasingly paranoid, which led to him being combative and causing conflict.
A number of psychological reports were tendered to the court outlining the diagnosis and treatment.
The court was told Oswald was highly stressed because of perfectionism and when he deemed things were not right he had low impulse control.
One report said Oswald's judgement was impaired due to an adjustment disorder and that the defendant had actually believed the police van had collided with his car.
Judge Georgio said Oswald had not reoffended, had good prospects of rehabilitation and he had complied with onerous conditions of bail, including that he not drive.
Oswald had one prior court appearance in 1997 for a significantly different offence, for which he was fined without conviction and the judge said that was not relevant.
Judge Georgio said the offending was of a serious nature but Oswald's adjustment disorder impacted his perception and judgement.
He said there was no defence to the charge and Oswald's guilty plea indicated acknowledgement of his reckless driving.
The judge found that a conviction should be recorded, a $1500 fine was imposed and Oswald was ordered to pay compensation for the $2411.83 damage to the police vehicle.
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