Two Dubbo policeman have been recommended for bravery awards after a Dubbo man tried to explode a gas bottle during a police pursuit near Eumungerie, in May this year.
Andrew Charles Greatz appeared in Dubbo Local Court yesterday and was sentenced to two years in jail with a non-parole period of 18 months.
Greatz was charged with a string of driving offences and for the use of an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.
Magistrate Howard Hamilton said Greatz not only committed a “serious’’ but a “potentially disastrous’’ offence that put at “significant risk’’ the lives of detectives Luke Scott and Michael Martin.
In May Greatz led police on a car chase through the back streets of Eumungerie, before trying to explode a gas bottle with a cigarette lighter.
Magistrate Hamilton said that from within the car, “Greatz lifted a LPG gas bottle and motioned to police that he intended to ignite the bottle’’.
At the time further police were then called as backup, followed by detectives from Dubbo.
During negotiations with police Greatz continued to flick the cigarette lighter and indicated he intended to ignite the car if police came any closer.
At one point Greatz accelerated away from police and rammed into an un-marked police car.
After another short pursuit police eventually stopped Greatz and negotiations with detectives began.
Magistrate Hamilton said that when Greatz’s “concentration lapsed’’ detective Luke Scott seized Greatz keys and wrestled with him.
“The accused continued to flick the cigarette lighter and turn the gas bottle on and Detective Scott was able to smell and hear the gas leaking from the bottle”.
Magistrate Hamilton said Detective Martin reached into the car and threw the bottle away as Greatz was trying to light the gas escaping from it.
Greatz was removed from the car and continued to resist police in a “violent fashion’’.
“In regard to the condition of Scott and Martin it was an extremely dangerous situation to both those officers,” Magistrate Hamilton said.
“I want to draw to the attention of the Commission of Police the conduct of Scott and Martin that each officer be appropriately recognised for their outstanding bravery of the danger posed to them by the accused.
“The accused – through his actions – put the lives of these two police officers at significant risk,” he said.
Magistrate Hamilton said Greatz was suffering from a “personal crisis’’ the day of the offence, that he was feeling suicidal and had consumed 60 anti-depressant tablets.
His blood alcohol reading was 1.36.
Greatz was sentenced to serve a two-year jail term with a non-parole period of 18 months.
He will be eligible for parole in May 2009.
Greatz was placed on a good behaviour bond for three years, for driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol in his blood.