YOUNG DEFENDANT: 18-year-old Jenai Purcell appeared before the Murgon court on April 7, facing two charges of serious assault. Photo: Facebook
YOUNG DEFENDANT: 18-year-old Jenai Purcell appeared before the Murgon court on April 7, facing two charges of serious assault. Photo: Facebook

Officer tested for coronavirus after Cherbourg assault

AN 18-year-old Cherbourg woman has pleaded guilty to spitting in the face of a paramedic and saying she had coronavirus.

Jenai Purcell appeared before the Murgon Magistrates Court on Tuesday, April 7, on two counts of serious assault after an altercation involving two emergency services officers in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Despite her lawyer claiming she had been drinking for up to 10 hours prior to the incident, Magistrate Louisa Pink said she did not consider the defendant’s behaviour to be momentary.

“You had been taken to hospital on April 5 because of some alarming traits, including self-harm,” Ms Pink said.

“You went back home and were asleep on the lounge when the police and ambulance officer arrived and you could not walk because you were still intoxicated.

“You were shouting and being abusive to the officers.

“You ran at a police officer two metres in front of you and your mother and brother told you to stop,” the magistrate said.

“You spat twice in the direction of the police officer, (and) the saliva landed on her trousers and you then bit the officer on the upper thigh.”

The court heard she also kicked and punched the police officer.

Ms Pink said Purcell then proceeded to be abusive towards a second officer.

“The ambulance officer was standing to your right hand side, talking to your mother and you raised your head and spat at the officer.

“Luckily, your mother pre-empted it and caught most of the saliva in her hand, but some of it landed on the officer’s chin.

“You claimed you had coronavirus and showed no signs of remorse at the time.”

Ms Pink said the officer had to undertake a blood test to check that he didn’t contract coronavirus.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said regardless of her age, he advised the court Purcell should serve a six month imprisonment for her offences.

In her defence, lawyer Alan Korobacz said his client was still young, had limited criminal history and was remorseful for her actions.

He said his client’s actions were out of character and should not be incarcerated.

In her sentencing, Ms Pink said she took into consideration the defendant’s age and future opportunities.

Ms Pink convicted the defendant and sentenced her to a period of six months’ imprisonment for the first offence and four months for the second.

The period of imprisonment was wholly suspended and Ms Purcell was placed on a good behaviour bond for 18 months.