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Judge made error when sentencing Hep C spitter

Hepatitis C positive Rockhampton man Michael Jason Lawrence was jailed for spitting on a police officer.
Hepatitis C positive Rockhampton man Michael Jason Lawrence was jailed for spitting on a police officer. Trevor Veale

QUEENSLAND'S highest court says a Rockhampton judge made an "error” when sentencing a person with hepatitis C who spat in the face of a police officer.  

Michael Jason Lawrence's appeal against conviction was dismissed in the Queensland Court of Appeal but his request to revisit his 12-month jail term was approved.

Rockhampton District Court found the 42-year-old guilty in October of last year of serious assault on a police officer and sentenced him to 12 months in jail.

On Tuesday, the appeal court published its reasons for rejecting Lawrence's push to have the conviction removed, saying the verdict was reasonable and supported by the evidence and that the trial judge did not make any errors while directing the jury.

However, it said the application to appeal the sentence should be allowed because the judge made an error due to "incorrect submissions in relation to an inability to impose a parole release date as opposed to a parole eligibility date”.

Rockhampton District Court found the 42-year-old guilty of serious assault on a police officer in October of last year and sentenced him to 12 months in jail.

Lawrence's "parole eligibility” date was April 11, 2017, and the appeal court has since ordered the wording to be changed to "parole release”.

The assault on the police officer happened in 2015.

Lawrence spat on the victim who was trying to help paramedics treat him for a drug overdose.

The officer was trying to subdue Lawrence when he heard a "hocking” noise then felt something warm and wet running down his cheek close to his mouth.

Lawrence's criminal history includes property, drug and assault offences. - NEWS REGIONAL

Topics:  hepatitis c police queensland court of appeal rockhampton district court


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