'Excessive' jail term for police assault overruled
A WOMAN who was jailed for punching a police officer in the face has had her jail time slashed after it was determined her original sentence was "excessive".
On July 17, Carina-Anne Berringer, 43, her partner, Lance Cox, and another person were drinking a Maroochydore home when police were called to a disturbance.
While Cox, was being arrested on an unrelated matter he lashed out at officers and Berringer began to yell and interfere, not wanting him to be taken into custody.
A female officer arrived on scene to arrest Berringer for obstruction, but was punched by her twice in the face.
The officer was treated in hospital and in a victim impact statement she said she had to lie to her six-year-old son - who began getting scared when she went to work - about the large bruise under her eye.
Berringer pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on October 16 to obstructing police and serious assault of police causing bodily harm, for which she received three and 15 months imprisonment respectively from magistrate Hayden Stjernqvist.
The head sentence for assault was to be suspended after five months for an operational period of two years, but on appeal in Maroochydore District Court yesterday Judge David Andrews significantly reduced Berringer's term of actual imprisonment to just one month.
Defence barrister James Benjamin contended determining the appropriate sentence for Berringer was difficult as similar cases were unable to be found post dating amendments to police assault laws which increased the maximum penalty from seven to 14 years imprisonment.
The Crown prosecutor said while the penalty imposed was at the "higher range" it was not "excessive", but this was rejected by Judge Andrews who said the decision was "off kilter" when compared to other, more serious cases of police assault.
Judge Andrews re-sentenced Berringer to 10 months imprisonment, suspended after one month for two years for the assault and three months imprisonment suspended after one month for two years.
Berringer is due to be released next Wednesday.