Suspended terms for Wagin police attack

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer

A Wagin couple have avoided jail time for assaulting two police officers during a random breath test in May last year after an 11th-hour plea deal.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston handed a seven-month suspended prison sentence to Daniel James Dwane, 34, and a 12-month suspended sentence to Kassandra Monica Dwane at the Narrogin Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday for assaulting Sergeant Michael Williams and Senior Constable Ann-Maree Page last year.

The couple initially pleaded not guilty to their charges of assault public officer in court in June, 2018.

However, after a week of negotiation leading into last Wednesday’s trial, prosecutor Alex Mossop agreed to drop the prescribed circumstances aspect of Mrs Dwane’s charge in exchange for the couple’s guilty plea.

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The prescribed circumstances charges carries a mandatory three-month prison sentence.

Mr and Mrs Dwane were travelling home with two other people from a friend’s 21st birthday party at the Wagin District Club about 11pm on May 19, 2018, when the two officers pulled them over on the intersection of Wendell and Johnston streets.

The court was told Mr Dwane, a front-seat passenger in the car, engaged in a “minor verbal argument” with Sgt Williams, who was conducting a breath test on the driver at the time.

Defence lawyer Terry Dobson described the event as one that “continually went up a notch”.

Mrs Dwane, a driver’s-side back-seat passenger, removed her seatbelt in an attempt to calm down her then-fiance.

The court was told Mr Dwane got out of the vehicle, followed by Mrs Dwane and a third passenger from the back seat.

Mr Dwane then started wrestling with Sgt Williams before Mrs Dwane assaulted Sen. Const. Page.

Sen. Const. Page suffered cuts to her lip and above her eye, as well as bruising to both eyes and her knees as a result of Mrs Dwane’s attack, while Sgt Williams sustained minor injuries. Before handing down her sentence, Ms Johnston said the couple acknowledged their conduct was “disgraceful and terrible” and that police were “entitled to feel the protection of the law” while working.

Drawing on the defendants’ “high standing in the community”, their list of personal references and circumstances leading up to the incident, Ms Johnston said it was in the community’s best interest that Mr and Mrs Dwane serve their sentences in the community.

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