'Plastic toy' casts doubt over body-worn camera vision
A MAN has escaped a custodial jail sentence after being caught with a large knife which he later claimed was merely a plastic toy.
Paramedics sounded the alarm to police after attending a 21st birthday party in Goodna, where they were confronted by a verbally abusive Neil Johnson.
Police pulled their guns in the belief Johnson was holding a knife.
Neil Reginald Johnson, 37, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to going armed to cause fear on Sunday, March 24; and two counts of unlawful assault/obstruction of paramedics doing their duty.
Magistrate Donna MacCallum adjourned the sentence on Monday until police could verify facts relating to the supposed weapon Johnson was armed with.
Johnson, who had been held in custody, was returned to the court yesterday.
Police prosecutor Jack Scott said the arresting police officer instructed he did see a knife. Police body-worn camera footage was viewed but did not show anything conclusive.
While acknowledging the knife could have been "a plastic facsimile," police stuck with their evidence.
The court previously heard paramedics called to the Goodna street about a possible stabbing were confronted by a man with a glass bottle just before 2am.
Defence lawyer Trevor Hoskin said Johnson was an asbestos removalist with a family to support.
"The belief is that two or three people who attended the birthday party were spiking drinks," Mr Hoskin said.
"Some believe that something may have been put in their drinks. No injuries were caused."
Ms MacCallum said police were unable to specify the identification of what Johnson held, and a weapon was never found.
Officers conceded it may have been a plastic toy that looked like a large knife.
Johnson was sentenced to eight months' jail with immediate parole release.