Simona Helen Kei leaving Caloundra Magistrates Court on April 7.
Simona Helen Kei leaving Caloundra Magistrates Court on April 7.

‘No excuse’: Drunk mum bites officer during arrest

A Coast mum-of-five will have the threat of jail time hanging over her head for the next two years after a drunken fight with her partner led to her biting a police officer.

Simona Helen Kei, who had previously been drinking with her partner, mistakenly believed the officer was kneeling on her while he attempted to arrest her on October 23, 2020.

On Wednesday the 42-year-old mother pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer in execution of duty and obstructing a police officer performing their duty while adversely intoxicated in public and public nuisance.

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Magistrate Rodney Madsen told the Caloundra Magistrates Court Kei had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges and a hearing had been set but she had since changed her plea.

Police prosecutor Jeanette Grigoris said Kei had bitten down on the officer's arm leaving him in pain with a prominent bite mark.

"He felt immediate pain and [was in pain] for the following week," she said.

"The visibility of the bite caused him and his family distress.

"The officer was simply carrying out his duties when he was assaulted."

Simona Helen Kei bit a police officer who was attempting to arrest her in October last year.
Simona Helen Kei bit a police officer who was attempting to arrest her in October last year.

Defence lawyer Donna Hanslow-Hastie said Kei and her partner of 19 years had been drinking when an argument broke out on the night of the offence.

Kei had lost three family members, including her mother, around that time and after not being able to attend her funeral due to coronavirus, she had been drinking more frequently.

Ms Hanslow-Hastie said when things became heated between Kei and her partner at their Caloundra West home, she went to a neighbour's house to call her son.

The court heard her neighbour wasn't home and when she tried a second house, an argument broke out between her and the neighbour's son, who answered the door.

Kei heard the boy's mother say she was calling the police and waited on their driveway for officers to arrive, Ms Hanslow-Hastie said.

She became anxious when the police informed her they would be taking her in and Ms Hanslow-Hastie said Kei now believed she had suffered a panic attack.

"[Kei] began to panic, she didn't know where her children were or if her partner was still home," she said.

Kei was "taken" to the ground and as she was being handcuffed she turned her head and bit the arresting officer on the arm.

"She thought at the time the officer was kneeling on her chest … she realised afterwards that this was not the case," Ms Hanslow-Hastie said.

Kei was taken into custody and her children, who were home alone, were told to stay home and lock the doors as her partner did not answer his phone, causing Kei to panic more, the court heard.

While on the way to the Maroochydore watch-house Kei began "banging" her head on the inside of the police car when they drove past the Caloundra Station where she thought she was being taken, Ms Hanslow-Hastie said.

At the Maroochydore watch-house Kei was processed and had her photo taken before she was taken to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for assessment.

The court heard Kei walked out of the hospital before being seen.

Sergeant Grigoris submitted that Kei should serve part of her sentence in actual custody due to the nature of the offence and sought $1000 compensation for the victim.

She said the mother-of-five was unemployed but had been a cleaner until coronavirus hit last year and could not afford to pay $1000.

Ms Hanslow-Hastie said Kei was engaging in alcohol and family support programs and her life was "back on track."

When sentencing Kei, Mr Madsen took into account her guilty plea but said it was late and "not much assistance" to the administration of justice, as she had originally pleaded not guilty and requested a brief of evidence and a hearing.

"You can't use [alcohol] as an excuse," he said.

"Like a lot of people alcohol was your particular problem at the time, but it can't excuse what people do to police officers.

"These two officers were just doing their job.

"I don't accept that you were having a panic attack.

"You were behaving badly because you were drunk."

Mr Madsen accepted Kei was remorseful and said it was "good fortune" that the officer had not sustained a serious injury or contracted a disease from the bite.

He sentenced her to 18 months' probation and 40 hours community service for the public nuisance offence and 12 months in prison suspended for two years for the assault.

She was convicted and not further punished for the obstructing police offence.

Mr Madsen ordered Kei to pay $500 compensation to SPER.



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