Injuries don’t deter cop
A Matamata police officer knocked unconscious by a drunken, angry pub patron says it has not put him off his job or the town.
Anthony Allan McAllister, 38, admitted a charge of wounding with intent to injure Senior Constable Martin Capener, after the prosecution evidence had been heard at his trial before a jury in Hamilton.
He was originally charged with the more serious aggravated wounding, after an incident at TRAC Sports Bar on November 10 last year.
The court heard that McAllister was drinking at the bar when he became involved in a verbal altercation with another man, Joe Tokona, just before 1am.
After a short time McAllister left the bar and approached Mr Tokona.
Mr Capener and Constable Currie were on duty that evening and were standing outside TRAC Bar at the time.
McAllister walked past Mr Capener and punched Mr Tokona repeatedly in the head.
Mr Capener grabbed McAllister, pulling him away from Mr Tokona and down the road to his patrol car.
But once there, McAllister remained ‘‘aggressive’’ and was pepper-sprayed by Mr Capener, an officer of 27 years.
It did not work and McAllister was sprayed again, but he responded by punching Mr Capener twice in the head, knocking him to the ground.
Mr Currie and bar staff ran to Mr Capener’s aid and restrained McAllister.
Before the trial started McAllister admitted a charge of injuring Mr Tokona with intent.
Mr Capener suffered a large gash under his left eye that required 11 stitches, along with a number of other small cuts to his face, bruising and broken ribs.
After the guilty plea outside court, Mr Capener said that the assault had not put him off policing, despite it being the most serious assault he had suffered over the years.
He was pleased with McAllister’s guilty plea, though it was late.
‘‘I’m happy that he’s acknowledged that he did something, but it could have come a lot earlier,’’ he said.
Mr Capener had been policing in Matamata for 17 years and had no plans to move. He would like to thank the bar staff and members of the public who came to his aid that night.
McAllister was issued a first strike warning by Judge Ruth, because the charge was a qualifying violent offence.
Judge Ruth remanded McAllister on bail and urged him to keep his nose clean until sentencing in October.
Senior Constable Martin Capener