Man jailed after gouging eye of police officer

ON THE morning of August 14, Mitchell Kieran Joyce fuelled his desire for sweets by going to a service station and stealing an ice cream and iced coffee.

Not long after, he gouged the eyes of a police officer in their line of duty.

Joyce, 23, pleaded guilty to four charges including serious assault with a circumstance of aggravation in the Bundaberg District Court on Wednesday.

Legal officer for the prosecution Luke Smoothy told the court after Joyce was seen stealing the items the police were called. Two officers who were near by turned around and saw Joyce.

When he saw them he tried to get away.

The officers told Joyce he was under arrest for stealing and he became aggressive and pushed them while they were trying to handcuff him.

Joyce was told to put his hands behind his back but continued to resist arrest.

One of the officers took him to the ground where he rolled around and screamed.

Joyce then took his hands and placed them on the face of the officer around the eyes and mouth.

Mr Smoothy told the court the officer panicked and hit him, before Joyce pushed his finger into the officer’s eye and gouged it causing a scratch to the eye and excruciating pain.

The second officer was also scratched during the altercation.

Joyce was unable to be arrested and was tasered when he stood up, to no effective.

He was then tasered a second time and fell to the ground before being arrested.

Mr Smoothy said Joyce had a lengthy criminal history with 13 entries.

One of the previous offences included an incident where Joyce pushed a staff member on a train after being unable to present a ticket.

Mr Smoothy submitted the crime was an escalation in previous offending.

Joyce’s barrister Nick Larter said he did not cavil with the prosecution’s submissions.

Mr Larter said his client accepted his drug use was an issue he needed to address.

He said his plea was timely and Joyce was still a relatively young man.

Judge Leanne Clare told Joyce the offending was at a more extensive level than what was on his history.

“It appears you were under the influence of something that made things worse and you were unnaturally strong,” she said.

“The injuries were minor but you caused one officer excruciating pain … fortunately he has fully recovered.

“Police are there to protect the community. The officers were just doing their job.”

Joyce was sentence to 10 months in prison and will be eligible for parole in March.

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