A grub who showed blatant disregard for COVID restrictions at the height of the pandemic headbutted a female cop, leaving her with nasty facial injuries.
A hospitality worker who headbutted a female police officer in the face after ignoring the closure of a popular Sydney beach at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has learned his punishment in court.
Andrew Merryfull, 30, from Maroubra, decided to go for a swim with his girlfriend at Maroubra Beach on March 30 last year despite it being closed as part of the COVID-19 restrictions.
After verbally abusing lifeguards, police were called to the beach and a female police officer caught up with Merryfull on a nearby street.
The agreed facts stated Merryfull assaulted the officer as she tried to arrest him.
“The accused proceeded to headbutt (the officer) striking her mouth,” the agreed facts stated.
She suffered a cut to her lip and swelling as a result. Other police arrived soon after and Merryfull was handcuffed and arrested.
He pleaded guilty to assault police officer cause actual bodily harm on Tuesday over the ugly incident.
He initially pleaded not guilty to the serious charge but failed to show up to court last month for his hearing.
He was swiftly arrested on a warrant and has spent the past month in jail.
Merryfull was convicted and sentenced to a community correction order for 16 months during his latest court appearance on Tuesday, which meant he was able to be released from prison.
A magistrate found he missed his last court appearance due to a genuine mistake “mixing up his court dates”.
Magistrate Clare Farnan also took into account the time he had spent behind bars in giving the sentence.
A photograph of the officer’s injuries were shown in court and Merryfull’s lawyer argued the injuries fell “toward the lower end for an offence of this nature”.
Magistrate Farnan labelled his actions “violent, criminal and inappropriate” and said she hoped he had learned that COVID-19 health restrictions were put in place for everyone’s benefit.
“It may be that Mr Merryfull in some misguided view of his human rights thought that he could do what others were prohibited from doing and of course he was wrong about that.”
A further charge of resist police officer in execution of duty was withdrawn.
Two other offences of behave in offensive manner in or near public place and fail to comply with terms of notice erected by council were dealt with earlier this year and Merryfull was convicted and fined $1000.
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