A YOUNG Bundaberg man who kicked a police officer in the face will have the next seven months behind bars to reflect on the alcohol-fuelled attack that has derailed both his and his victim's lives.
Twenty-year-old Tyrone Harry Dodd was at the Central Hotel drinking with friends and family on September 10 when a disturbance led to his father being taken outside and made to sit on the ground by security while police were called.
When Bundaberg Police Constable Lorne Stupart arrived, he knelt down to speak with Dodd's father, Cameron, to check if he was okay.
Without warning, Dodd came from out of the blue and delivered a powerful kick to the crouching officer's face, knocking his teeth out.
Dodd yesterday pleaded guilty in Bundaberg District Court to causing grievous bodily harm to Const Stupart.
"Your reaction was swift and shocking," Judge Leanne Clare told him.
"This officer had done nothing wrong."
Judge Clare said Const Stupart had suffered immense pain, had been to countless dental appointments and was also showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
"He will probably have to move from the job he loved," she said.
Defence barrister Andrew O'Brien said Dodd was shocked by his own actions.
"From the moment he saw that (CCTV) video on the application for bail, he has done everything in his power to try to set things right," Mr O'Brien said.
The barrister said Dodd was an upstanding young man who had been named as the Naidoc young person of the year and had not touched a drop of alcohol since the night of his violent offending.
"He was mortified and he is still having difficulty coming to terms with what he did," Mr O'Brien said.
More than 30 friends and family packed the public gallery to stand by Dodd's side, and spoke words of support and encouragement as the young man was led away to start his jail term.
Dodd himself addressed the court, saying he was sorry.
Jailing him for three years, suspended after seven months, Judge Clare said the sentence was a difficult decision.
"It's just heartbreaking to see you in the docks for this offence," she said. "We all need these officers to maintain law and order, and these officers in turn need the protection of the law."
Dodd also said he would pay the officer $2000 restitution, for which he had been saving.