Shepparton News

Woman pleads guilty to assault

- By Alex Mitchell

A woman who punched offduty police officers in a pub clash after a co-accused attempted to sell them ecstasy has faced the Shepparton Magistrate­s’ Court.

Natasha Armstrong, 21, pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and two counts of assault, admitting to her role in the August 26, 2019, incident.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Gary Steel told the court Armstrong and a coaccused were at the Aussie Hotel at 11.50 pm, when they approached a group of seven offduty police officers who were at the rear of the pub.

It was heard the co-accused allegedly asked one officer if they wanted to buy ‘‘googs’’, known to the police as ecstasy tablets. The officer told him to leave.

The co-accused walked a short distance to Armstrong and police approached the duo and told them to leave the hotel.

They became argumentat­ive and it resulted in Armstrong punching one of the police officers in the face.

Sen Constable Steel said they moved to the front door, where the co-accused punched a different officer to the face as they were exiting.

Armstrong then punched the first officer in the face again before being grabbed by security.

The co-accused also allegedly punched two officers and an unknown female.

The court heard he then ‘‘challenged’’ the attending police officers before he was capsicum sprayed.

One officer had swelling to his face and eyes, bruising and a sore jaw after the incident, another had bruising to his face.

After their arrest, a bag found with the duo was searched, containing $1142 and 34 ecstasy tablets.

Armstrong was not charged with the traffickin­g of drugs, with the court told the coaccused faced more serious charges, including traffickin­g

MDMA, dealing with proceeds of crime, intentiona­lly causing injury, recklessly causing injury and resisting an emergency worker; he was sentenced to a community correction­s order.

Defence counsel Ian Michaelson said the difference in the severity of charges showed the co-accused was the principal offender.

Magistrate Steven Raleigh did not accept Mr Michaelson’s submission Armstrong did not use drugs, and sentenced her to a 12-month community correction­s order, requiring her to be assessed and treated for drug abuse, although he did not record a conviction.

Armstrong was also fined $250.

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