In­juries don’t de­ter cop

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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

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