Spitting defence wins day
TWENTY-YEAR-OLD Jayden Lankford avoided jail this week thanks to a legal argument about spit.
Lankford appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to serious assault, obstructing police and trespassing. The court heard he spat at a police officer after he was escorted from a Cairns business where he was banned.
Lankford was drunk at the time and the normally “caring, compassionate and co-operative” man expressed his dissatisfaction with the state of affairs by spitting at police.
The offending projectile brushed against the officer’s cheek and ear – but missed his eyes, nose and mouth.
Normally a spitting assault on police would attract the sternest of sentences and an almost guaranteed prison term. However, some deft argument by legal eagle Steve Wetten- hall, defending, convinced Magistrate Janelle Brassington that the big house may not be the best option for Lankford.
He argued Lankford’s spittle was “qualitatively different” to saliva launched with more malice, such as in the case of backpacker Peter King, 30, who “spat blood and phlegm on to the complainant (officer’s) face and into his mouth” at Airlie Beach in 2008.
Mr Wettenhall said that Lankford’s spit – from the back seat of the police car – managed to evade a perspex barrier and hit the officer from behind.
“It is qualitatively different from standing and spitting when there is no doubt it would hit the officer,” he said. He said a community based order would be more effective in reforming Lankford’s behaviour.
Ms Brassington fined Lankford $300 and sentenced him to six months in jail with immediate parole.