Threatening to kill a police officer while repeatedly stabbing at him with a butcher knife was so serious that the sentence had to be imprisonment, Mrs. Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale told defendant Jack Nathan Bush on Friday.
She imposed a term of two years for threatening violence and a concurrent term of two years for assault causing actual bodily harm.
Quoting from a precedent case, the judge said police officers perform a difficult public duty in circumstances in which they are only too likely to encounter bad temper and unreasonableness. Officers deserve such protection as the courts can give.
In Bush’s case, the injury to the officer – a cut thumb – was minimal. But that was because of the officer’s evasive action, not the defendant’s restraint, the judge said.
Bush had pleaded not guilty and during his trial he accused officers of lying to get him in trouble. But the attack occurred at the police station, where Bush had gone armed with the knife. The evidence was that Bush became so loud and disorderly with one officer that the second officer had to intervene.
The judge made her comments after hearing mitigation from Defence Attorney Ben Tonner.
Mr. Tonner said the offences occurred when Bush was asked to attend the Family Support Unit after his wife made a complaint against him.
He was aggrieved because he felt he had done nothing wrong. Essentially, he tried to leave the station without cooperating. Bush did not intend to hurt anybody, the attorney said.
The incident had been the result of a very emotional breakdown of the marriage. Since then, the defendant and his wife have separated and he was no longer in that stressful, unhappy situation, Mr. Tonner concluded.
Bush, now 35, had previous convictions for violence against police, the judge noted in passing sentence. She took into account that he had stayed out of trouble since 1997, but said that his emotional stress was no excuse for violence.
She had to pass a sentence that would deter him in the future and deter others who would do violence to police when they were acting in the lawful execution of their duties.