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Nov 15, 2012

Man acquitted of swearing at police

Image: solicitor Andrew Peel with Bardon Kaitira. Source; Townsville Bulletin
As a general rule it is not a good idea to be discourteous or rude to the cops, they can usually find something to get you on to make you pay.  There are situations though where you notice some petty authoritarian making a prick of himself over some minor breach of a puerile regulation where you wonder how it would be possible to keep your cool under those circumstances.
In Townsville a man has been acquitted for swearing at police, telling an officer to “f*** off:” 
Magistrate Peter Smid yesterday threw out the court case against Mundingburra man Bardon Kaitira, 28, who swore at a female officer outside the Consortium night club on December 20, last year at 2.40am. 
Constable Belinda Young gave evidence that Mr Kaitira used the swear word twice towards her after a group of officers patrolling Flinders St East poured out his girlfriend's drink.  "The defendant said 'f*** off' and starting walking away and I asked: 'What did you say?'," she said. 
"He said 'f*** off" again and then said: 'I don't like the police you think you are all heroes'.   "I told him it was an offence to swear at an officer and gave him two choices - a fine or be arrested."  Mr Kaitira opted to be put in handcuffs and taken to the watch house. … 
… Magistrate Smid said he was not satisfied Mr Kaitira committed an offence and police could be liable for his legal bills.  "The defendant spoke normally, he had his hands in his pockets and walked away," he said.  "It's not the most polite way of speaking but those who walk the beat would be quiet immune to the words." 
The magistrate said overall the conduct of the defendant was not a nuisance to the public because it didn't interfere with fellow night club goers.  "It was overkill by the officer who was not offended anyway," Mr Smid said.  "But she pursued him clearly annoyed he hadn't shown remorse." …
Police have a difficult task where late night drinking is involved with its attendant violence, but in this case there seemed to be no real reason for their intervention.  If Mr Kaitira’s girlfriend was consuming alcohol it was a possible offense, however it is not something terribly important.
Heavy handedness in cases like this is likely to start trouble.  As mentioned in the hearing, Mr Kaitira was not causing any trouble for anyone, so its difficult to understand why the police were on his case in the first place.  The police could make their own lives much simpler if they were to use some judgment rather than act like enforcement robots or bureaucrats.
It could even earn them a greater degree of respect from the public.


  1. profoundly_disturbedNovember 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    That final line is so appropriate.

  2. How many times has this sort of thing happened to someone who either was unaware they had the option to fight it legally, or was unable to afford it? I know of many myself. Police are necessary, but the attitude many of them carry is unacceptable.

  3. Back in my younger days things were much simpler, fewer rules, and the cops didn't hassle you unless you engaged in criminal acts or made a nuisance of yourself.

    I'm inclined to think that the growing trend towards massive regulation and legislation has changed the type of people wanting to join the force from the easy going people of the past into a more authoritarian group who love exercising power.