Rowena Natalie Brown leaves court after pleading guilty to assaulting police.
Rowena Natalie Brown leaves court after pleading guilty to assaulting police.

Woman bites and scratches police in drug ‘freak out’

A WOMAN who exacerbated her mental health issues by taking ice has been spared time behind bars despite biting a police officer who had been called to assist her.

Ipswich District Court heard the troubled woman bit a female senior constable and also scratched a male officer.

Both police officers faced an anxious wait for disease testing afterwards, with attacker Rowena Brown revealing she has hepatitis C.

Rowena Natalie Brown, 23, from Gailes, pleaded guilty to committing a serious assault on the female officer at Gailes on January 15, 2019; seriously assaulting a male officer causing bodily harm; and obstructing police in their duties.

Crown prosecutor Alexander McKinnon said the two constables were called to a Gailes residence at 3am and located Brown in a stairwell.

The court heard her behaviour was erratic, and she was telling the officers she was going home.

Police wanted to detain her for her own safety, but Brown fled.

When the officer caught up with her, Brown bit the female constable on her left hand, breaking the skin and causing bleeding.

Brown was handcuffed but she continued to struggle.

 

Rowena Natalie Brown leaves court after pleading guilty to assaulting police.
Rowena Natalie Brown leaves court after pleading guilty to assaulting police.

 

The officers said she was extremely non-compliant and then scratched the male officer's left forearm.

Mr McKinnon said that when in custody at the Ipswich watch-house Brown told police she was positive with hepatitis C.

The officers were disease tested but neither contracted the communicable disease.

He said Brown had a previous conviction for serious assault on police when she spat on an officer.

"It shows significant disrespect to police doing their duties," he said.

A report before the court indicated that at the time of the offence she had been injecting amphetamines and drinking.

Defence barrister Geoffrey Seaholme said Brown had been "freaking out" at the time and was scared of being arrested.

Mr Seaholme said her capacity at the time was impaired by the use of methylamphetamine.

"She does have significant mental health issues that need to be taken into account rather than sending her into prison," he said.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC sentenced Brown to 12-month jail order with immediate parole.

"You will not go into jail today. It will hang over your head, and it comes with strings attached," Judge Lynch told Brown.

He warned that she must co-operate or she would go into jail.

"It is unacceptable to be fighting with police, biting, spitting or scratching," Judge Lynch warned.

"They were trying to help you and you treated them badly."


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