James Haberfield’s sentence will be appealed after he avoided jail for assaulting two paramedics while under the influence of drugs. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith
James Haberfield’s sentence will be appealed after he avoided jail for assaulting two paramedics while under the influence of drugs. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Paramedic basher’s sentence to be appealed

VICTORIA'S top prosecutor will appeal the sentence of paramedic basher, James Haberfield.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC confirmed an appeal has been lodged today.

It follows an extraordinary intervention by Premier Daniel Andrews who called on the DPP to urgently consider an appeal.

Haberfield dodged jail last month after pleading guilty to beating two paramedics after consuming a cocktail of drugs at a music festival.

He was charged after launching a frenzied attack on a female paramedic, Monica, placing her in a headlock and punching her several times in the face.

Despite a mandatory six-month jail sentence for assaulting an emergency worker, Magistrate Simon Zebrowski spared the 22-year-old jail, saying prison would have a "catastrophic" impact on his future.

Injured paramedic Monica was "extremely pleased" the matter was being reviewed.

Paramedic Monica was bashed on the job. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith
Paramedic Monica was bashed on the job. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Victorian Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said he and Monica had met with the DPP and were relieved an appeal had been lodged.

"We'll be watching it very closely and very carefully," Mr Hill told the Herald Sun.

"Monica and her family are extremely pleased to know this is being reviewed," he said.

Mr Hill said it was important to continue to send the message that assaults on emergency workers were never OK.

Haberfield pleaded guilty to one charge of recklessly causing injury to an emergency worker, and one charge of assaulting an emergency worker.

The DPP has lodged an appeal on the grounds that it was not open for the magistrate to impose any sentence other than jail for recklessly causing injury of an emergency worker.

"In light of the finding made by the magistrate that the impaired mental functioning was caused solely by self-induced intoxication, it was not open to the magistrate to impose any sentence other than a custodial sentence," a statement read.

In appealing the sentence for the latter charge, Ms Judd said it was also not open to the magistrate to impose a mandatory monitoring and treatment order.

 

The sentence infuriated Victorian paramedics. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
The sentence infuriated Victorian paramedics. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

 

Haberfield was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to an 18-month Community Corrections Order with a Mandatory Treatment and Monitoring Order.

Following the sentence, Mr Hill labelled the legislation "a dud".

Mandatory minimum six-month jail terms for thugs who bash paramedics have never been dished out by Victorian courts - despite being in place for five years.

Premier Andrews said he would consider reviewing the legislation if an appeal was unsuccessful.

But Chief Magistrate Peter Lauristen backed Mr Zebrowski's ruling.

"Whether there is an appeal or not, it is clear the magistrate applied the law (as he saw it) to the facts to reach the sentence he imposed," Mr Lauristen said.

"It would have been wrong for him to do otherwise."



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