A 27-YEAR-OLD man who punched a police officer with a closed fist to the face, fracturing the male constable's eye socket, will be home to see in the new year.
Randall Wayne Hockey was sentenced to nine months imprisonment with a parole release date of December 31 this year, after he pleaded guilty in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday to one count each of serious assault on a police officer and of obstructing police .
The court heard the father of two was involved in an argument with his wife in the Bundaberg CBD on September 6 after a day at the races.
About 8.20pm two police officers came across the pair as part of their patrol and intervened to break up the argument.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Hayley Glover said Hockey's wife verbally abused police and was arrested for public nuisance.
Snr Const Glover said Hockey was given a move-on order and said he was going back to the pub but advanced towards the officer as his wife resisted arrest.
Snr Const Glover said Hockey then swore and, when police went to arrest him, he punched the officer in the face, fracturing his eye socket.
Defence lawyer Patrick Quinn said Hockey's wife, who was in court, lost her job as a result of the incident and Hockey was the sole breadwinner for their family.
He said Hockey had consumed 16 beers in the lead-up to the incident, which he described as a "momentary lapse of judgment".
Mr Quinn said if his client spent a significant amount of time in jail it would financially ruin the family.
He urged Magistrate Aaron Simpson to consider wholly suspending the sentence or to release his client before Christmas.
Mr Simpson said the community expected a jail term be imposed but he took into account that Hockey had attended an anger management course and that he was remorseful for his actions.
The State Government's Safe Night Out legislation carries penalties including a potential prison sentence of 14 years for violence or assault against a public officer, including police.