Jail for man in at­tack on cops

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LUCY SMITH lucy. smith@ news. com. au

OF­FI­CERS were forced to draw firearms on a man with a tom­a­hawk who re­peat­edly rammed his car into a po­lice ve­hi­cle in Con­don.

Gus­sip­pie An­thon Ru­pena, 31, man­aged to drive off but po­lice found him at an as­so­ciate’s home, hid­ing in a cup­board, days later. He launched out of the cup­board, punched an of­fi­cer in the ribs and was tasered and ar­rested.

Ru­pena pleaded guilty in Townsville Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day to a string of charges in­clud­ing go­ing armed to cause fear, wil­ful dam­age, dan­ger­ous driv­ing, as­sault­ing po­lice and re­ceiv­ing tainted prop­erty.

Pros­e­cu­tor Sergeant John Mo­ran said po­lice went to Ru­pena’s Swal­low St home on Jan­uary 22 to in­ves­ti­gate stolen reg­is­tra­tion plates.

When po­lice pulled up in the drive­way, Ru­pena ran across the yard, got into the car and started revving the mo­tor.

“Mr Ru­pena has then ex­ited hold­ing a small axe, he has held it up and threat­ened it to­wards po­lice, who ex­ited the po­lice ve­hi­cle,” Sgt Mo­ran said.

“Po­lice had drawn their firearms, pointed them to­wards Mr Ru­pena, or­dered him to stop the ve­hi­cle and drop the weapon.” In­stead, Ru­pena got back into the car and drove it into the po­lice ve­hi­cle. He re­versed and again rammed the po­lice car, this time at a “high speed”, push­ing it out of his path so he could drive away.

Sgt Mo­ran said on Jan­uary 25, po­lice went to a Ras­mussen home in search of Ru­pena and a plain clothes of­fi­cer found him hid­ing in a cup­board.

“The de­fen­dant has launched him­self out of the cup­board ... ( and) pro­ceeded to punch the of­fi­cer three or four times in the ribs,” he said. An­other of­fi­cer ar­rived to find Ru­pena on the ground on top of the of­fi­cer and tasered him.

De­fence so­lic­i­tor Tris­tan Car­los said Ru­pena had writ­ten a let­ter of apol­ogy to the of­fi­cers. Ru­pena’s de facto part­ner was in court with their seven- month- old child.

Mag­is­trate Ross Mack said po­lice had shown re­straint by not shoot­ing at Ru­pena.

“Not only are they threat­ened with phys­i­cal harm ... they’re con­fronted with a devil’s choice – do I use the ul­ti­mate re­straint or not? Th­ese are real dilem­mas for po­lice.”

Mr Mack said Ru­pena had an “abom­inable” crim­i­nal and traf­fic his­tory and the com­mu­nity needed pro­tec­tion from him. Ru­pena was sen­tenced to two- and- a- half years in jail. Be­cause of time al­ready served he will be re­leased on pa­role on Novem­ber 24.

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