Woorabinda police station.
Woorabinda police station. Chris Ison

Man pleads guilty to police assault

THE man who started a vicious riot against police at Woorabinda has pleaded guilty to seriously assaulting a female officer, apologised to the officer and been released from custody.

Steven John Williams was arrested in January after a riot in which police were ambushed in the Aboriginal community, west of Rockhampton.

Williams, 20, was drunk and when he thought a policewoman was going to accuse him of bashing his partner, Williams lashed out.

He threw a 1m long metal bar at her.

The officer put up her hands just in time to stop the bar hitting her head but she broke her hand and had to be taken to hospital.

When police went to arrest Williams later that night a dispute broke out and about 50 residents ambushed police officers.

Police were attacked and verbally abused.

Williams pleaded guilty last week in Rockhampton District Court to serious assault.

Judge Marshall Irwin told Williams it was thugs like him that meant police officers didn't want to work at Woorabinda.

“Here was a policewoman who was simply trying to do her job for the benefit of the community. All the thanks she got from that was to have a metal object thrown at her face,” Judge Irwin said.

“Communities like yours need the assistance of police and you know that.

“They're there to protect you and other people. But police won't be prepared to go to those communities if this is the sort of contempt in which they are held.

“You need to think yourself fortunate … once someone has something metallic thrown at their head they might become a vegetable for the rest of their lives, they might die.”

Williams had previously been before the courts for assaults.

“There is really no alternative in this case other than to impose a sentence of imprisonment on you,” Judge Irwin said.

He ordered Williams to nine months jail time.

But because Williams had already spent 104 days in custody he was eligible to walk free Thursday afternoon.

“There is no excuse for your behaviour,” Judge Irwin said.

Williams expressed an apology to the policewoman through his barrister.

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