Driver fined after police officer punched

ON-DUTY Ballarat police officers were assaulted and wrestled to the ground after intercepting a driver for a routine breath test last November, a court has heard.

Yesterday, in the Ballarat Magistrates Court, Tamara McPherson, 36, from Sebastopol, pleaded guilty to assaulting on-duty police. 

Ballarat police prosecutor Senior Constable Pepe Brown said McPherson was driving through Ballarat’s CBD, with three passengers in her car, when she was pulled over by police on November 1.

At 2.24am, police asked McPherson for a random breath test, which was returned positive. 

The court heard McPherson proceeded to tell police to “(expletive) off” and attempted to drive away. 

Police intervened, which resulted in McPherson punching a police officer multiple times in the head.

Police then called for urgent back-up, while the three passengers left the vehicle and made their way toward police. 

Another police officer was assaulted with injuries to the mouth and leg. 

Senior Constable Brown said McPherson admitted to wrestling police, but did not recall punching an officer.

Defence lawyer Kylie Moloney said her client had problems with alcohol abuse. 

Ms Moloney said, last May, McPherson underwent detoxification for alcohol abuse, but still had problems with excessive consumption. 

“Her dad passed away shortly before the incident,” Ms Moloney said.

Ms Moloney said while the death was not to blame for the incident, it did not help her client’s judgement at the time. 

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt criticised McPherson’s behaviour. 

“Your behaviour was completely and utterly unacceptable,” Mr Klestadt said. 

“Police do a difficult job in difficult circumstances and this type of behaviour will not be commended.” 

Mr Klestadt sentenced McPherson to pay a $1500 aggregate fine and $110.40 of statutory charges. 

McPherson’s driver’s licence was also cancelled for two years.