A Warrnambool man who assaulted two police officers in a violent attack during the height of the pandemic has been jailed for three years.
Steven Cleary, 50, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court on Wednesday to affray, assaulting an emergency worker on duty and other associated offences.
On Friday he was jailed for three years and two months.
He must serve a non-parole period of one year and 10 months.
Cleary has served 286 days in custody on remand.
Judge Anne Hassan said it was intolerable that police carrying out routine duties in broad daylight on a public street were set upon and subjected to "violence of this magnitude".
"It is further intolerable that members of the public witnessed such horrific violence erupting on their streets and in their community," she said.
In police body-camera footage from October 19 last year, Senior Constable Rowan Baldam and Constable Will Ringin are seen speaking to a 15-year-old who was not wearing a mask, which was mandated by the chief health officer at the time.
Cleary then arrives at the McGennan Road scene and rushes at the two police officers before striking Senior Constable Baldam a number of times to the head.
The victim, who was in the fetal position, described his vision going blurry, feeling extreme pain, and not knowing whether he was standing or on the ground.
Senior Constable Baldam told the court he thought he would die and was only alive due to the heroism of his police partner, who intervened.
The footage also showed Cleary grabbing a police taser that had fallen to the ground and firing Constable Ringin with a single prong.
The man was eventually subdued with capsicum spray.
Judge Anne Hassan said the footage depicted Cleary arrive at the scene armed and angry.
"It was sickening to watch Senior Constable Baldam subjected to your repeated blows," she said.
"It is fortunate, given the viciousness of your assault, neither officers were more seriously injured."
During the incident, Cleary said he was the king and the officers were Roman dogs.
"I am evoking English common law. In the name of the lord Jesus Christ I command you to get off me," he said.
On Friday, Judge Hassan said she accepted the man had significant mental health issues, including a delusional schizo-type disorder.
Referring to a forensic psychiatric report, she said Cleary believed he was acting in self-defence at the time of the offending, and described police as private security guards rather than public health officers.
The judge said Cleary was under the delusional belief he was the king of Australia, Norway and other countries, that COVID-19 was a conspiracy and the mask mandate was unlawful.
She said the forensic psychiatrist found Cleary was "significantly and persistently disabled" as a result of his conditions.
The court heard the psychiatric report showed Cleary's mental illness was directly linked to the commission of the violent attack as the man believed he was obliged to react to what he believed to be an illegitimate police force.
The man refuses to be prescribed medication, the court was told.
Judge Hassan accepted Cleary's delusions were directly linked to his offending, and jail would be more burdensome on him than those of sound mind.
But she said no matter how bizarre the underlying motivation was, deterrence wasn't wholly eliminated given the seriousness of the offending.
The judge said Cleary would have been jailed for five years and six months if not for his guilty plea.
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