A 21-year-old Mayfield man will spend the night in prison while he awaits his fate for capsicum spraying a police officer and putting an officer in a head lock.
Rory Mitchell Shipton-Gaitor appeared in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Monday where Justice Ken Stanton heard the accused initially called police to confess to a burglary before turning on them when they came to arrest him in August last year.
The police prosecution told the court Mr Shipton-Gaitor, who pleaded guilty to two matters levelled against him, drew two female police officers into a dangerous scuffle that left with one constable with swelling and bruising and the other with visible marks around her neck.
"Police are entitled to feel safe while on duty," the prosecution told the court.
When police came to Mr Shipton-Gaitor's residence he was drunk, hiding behind a couch and had his arms underneath him.
The court heard police felt as though Mr Shipton-Gaitor could have had something in his hands and that he would not stand up, instead telling the officer to "f--- off, dog". The officer then capsicum sprayed the accused, but it only made him angrier.
The court heard Mr Shipton-Gaitor then snatched the capsicum spray from one of the constables and sprayed indiscriminately towards the officers.
Defence counsel Fran McCracken said the spraying was reckless as the defendant "could not see, but managed to get ahold of [the spray] and spray wherever her [could]".
The court heard when Mr Shipton-Gaitor was spraying the capsicum spray he said, "take that, bitch" and "I'll f------ spray you too".
Mr Shipton-Gaitor conceded in a police interview after the attack he "just held the button down and sprayed it everywhere".
Mr Stanton contended the spraying was not reckless, but was an attempt to cause injury to police.
Mr Shipton-Gaitor then, as told to the court by the police prosecution, held a constable in a headlock and pulled her hair, and wrestled another officer until they all fell to the floor.
Ms McCracken told the court Mr Shipton-Gaitor had been thrown across the room by police, but the point was contested by the police prosecution.
Two body-worn cameras had previously showed Mr Shipton-Gaitor hiding behind the couch when police attended, but had "cut out" as the scuffle ensued.
Once back-up had been called, police detained Mr Shipton-Gaitor and took him to Launceston Police Station where he recorded a blood alcohol reading of "0.12-something".
Ms McCracken said alcohol had continually seen Mr Shipton-Gaitor make decisions that failed him.
"What brings him undone is the consumption of alcohol," she said.
READ MORE: 250 contacts of Tasmania's COVID case
And alcohol was the instigator in another of the matters Mr Shipton-Gaitor pleaded guilty to, and which became the matter eventually leading to his court appearance on Monday.
The court heard that matter was one during which Mr Shipton-Gaitor, in the afternoon, stole groceries from the Hill Street Grocer and alcohol from a nearby bottle shop after drinking "mostly Boag's" from 7am, despite being bailed with conditions to not consume alcohol.
Mr Shipton-Gaitor conceded to his defence counsel his alcohol consumption at the time led him to have "limited knowledge" of what had actually occurred before he was picked up by police on Wellington Street at 8.30pm that night.
Mr Stanton said he would take time to reflect on the matters before him before delivering a sentencing verdict expected on Tuesday afternoon.
After walking into the court room from the streets of Launceston, Mr Shipton-Gaitor was remanded in custody until at least that time.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: