Man jailed for assaulting DCP director

Jon SolmundsonGeraldton Guardian
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A man has been jailed for a year for a serious assault on the former Geraldton director for the Department of Child Protection.

Geraldton Magistrate’s Court was told the victim had been unable to return to work since the attack in July this year.

His attacker, 41-year-old John Peter Boyd, appeared in court last week for sentencing on a single count of assault of a public officer.

On July 4, Boyd attended a meeting at the department offices in Geraldton with his four children, and became hostile after the female staff member working with him gave him information about how his children were being cared for.

With one of his children in his arms Boyd attempted to attack the woman, and though he did not harm her he proceeded to scream and punch glass doors and windows in the office.

The 51-year-old district director arrived to investigate the commotion, and attempted to calm Boyd, but Boyd repeatedly punched him in the face.

The man was left with a broken nose and 2cm of bone jutting out from a laceration in his face.

Photographs tendered to the court showed a white point of broken bone which had broken through the skin at the bridge of the victim’s nose.

Police prosecutor Kathryn Flanagan said in her opinion immediate imprisonment was the only sentencing option.

“Not only does he blame others, he fails to take responsibility for his actions . . . he victim blames,” she said.

“The suggestion that he’s remorseful when he’s run from the scene — in my view you have to take that with a grain of salt.”

She also pointed out that Boyd had police records in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and an outstanding warrant in Queensland.

Boyd’s defence counsel Ryan Arndt said although imprisonment was an option, a pre-sentence order would ensure the court could continue to monitor him and give him access to drug and alcohol services.

Magistrate Donna Webb said the offence was extraordinarily serious, because it was unprovoked, happened in the department’s office, in front of his children, and while Boyd was “completely intoxicated”.

Ms Webb said although Boyd had previously undergone drug and alcohol counselling it clearly had limited effect.

While one could accept the anguish and distress that parents had when their children were taken from them, it was hard to have sympathy for Boyd when his efforts to rehabilitate had been so poor, she said.

“There needs to be great emphasis on general deterrence, particularly given the victim of this offence,” the magistrate said.

“(DCP staff) have an extraordinarily difficult job, but an incredibly important job.”

Boyd was made eligible for parole.

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