Man wins assault conviction appeal

A FORMER NSW police officer convicted of threatening to set his daughter’s car on fire has successfully appealed against his conviction in Lismore District Court.

Phillip Rosenbaum, 52, of Crabbes Creek, now a builder, previously pleaded guilty in Murwillumbah Local Court to recklessly damaging property; assaulting his daughter; assaulting police; and resisting police at his Pimple Valley Road property in Crabbes Creek on May 1.

He then received a bond on the property offence (without conviction) but was convicted and fined on the other three offences, which he subsequently appealed against using a mental-health defence argument that he suffered ‘a transient psychotic episode’.

Agreed police facts state that during an argument with his 18-year-old daughter, Rosenbaum poured petrol over her black Hyundai Getz at 8.30pm and verbally abused her, also telling her: “Your friends are losers. I don’t care if your friend’s mother is dying. I don’t give a s..t.”

During the argument the daughter knocked a vase from a table that smashed.

Rosenbaum became enraged and ripped the front door off its hinges, smashed palings in a fence throwing the timber over a hedge, then grabbed handfuls of newspapers and put them on the front seat of the Getz.

“I am going to burn this car. I will teach you some respect,” he yelled, while holding a lighter in his hand.

The daughter told police she believed he was going to set fire to her car and was pushing her father away with her all her strength.

Rosenbaum walked off but returned with a can of petrol and began to douse the Getz with petrol, splashing it all over the car.

As she tried to intervene he also covered his distraught daughter with petrol as she continued to push him away to protect her car.

Rosenbaum then held up a cigarette lighter saying: “I’m going to burn it all’.

His wife became involved and Rosenbaum himself called triple-0 telling the operator ‘I have gone off my head’.

When police officers arrived at the scene he became aggressive and yelled ‘You can’t touch me. I am half owner of the car and I can burn the c..t if I want’.

Struggling violently, Rosenbaum resisted officers and punched senior constable Matthew McSorley in the face and attempted to punch another officer. Senior constable Dean Broadhurst deployed the taser striking Rosenbaum in the back, which incapacitated him allowing police to handcuff him.

Defence lawyer Russell Baxter said his client was a former detective who resigned in 1989.

During cross-examination of his client, it was revealed Rosenbaum was frustrated by his marriage problems, his daughter’s behaviour and the Crabbes Creek male friends she was spending time with. Rosenbaum was ashamed and disgusted by what he did, including his offences against police, because until that night he did not have one offence on his record.

Medical evidence was put forward from a psychiatrist that stated he suffered a mental health episode at the time of the offences.

Acting Judge Neil McLauchlan said his behaviour would have been inexcusable were it not for the question of his mental health at the time with the psychiatrist expressing a professional opinion Rosenbaum suffered ‘a transient psychotic episode’ due to his family issues and conflict between him and his older daughter.

Judge McLauchlan quashed all three convictions, finding Rosenbaum guilty but instead placed him on 18-month good behaviour bonds.

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