30 January 2024

Air Force hopeful accused of dislocating police officer's shoulder

| Albert McKnight

Vishal Sharma, 30, was granted bail on conditions including living in Nicholls. Photo: Albert McKnight.

An allegedly disqualified driver is accused of leading police officers on a chase through Gungahlin after they pulled him over and dislocating the shoulder of one of his pursuers when they tried to arrest him.

Vishal Sharma has been handed charges that include recklessly inflicting actual bodily harm, resisting a public official and driving while disqualified over the alleged incident.

Police had been patrolling Gungahlin at almost 11 pm on 12 January 2024 when they spotted a Holden Cruz and made it stop on Hibberson Street, but the driver then allegedly fled on foot through Gungahlin College, court documents say.

The officers gave chase while calling at him to stop, but he allegedly continued to run until he was intercepted by officers in parkland near Waves Carwash.

It is alleged that when a detective acting sergeant and the driver fell to the ground while the former was trying to arrest him, the officer’s shoulder became dislocated.

The driver allegedly fled again while another officer called for paramedics to help the acting sergeant.

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More police arrived and chased the driver, who was eventually caught on Valley Avenue and allegedly identified as Sharma.

“Police observed the defendant to be sweating profusely, displaying volatile and erratic behaviour, whilst engaging with police,” officers claimed.

“Police held the opinion that the defendant was well under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit substances.”

Vishal Sharma is scheduled to face court again next month. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Legal Aid’s Jeremy Banwell successfully fought for the 30-year-old from Nicholls to be released on bail when he faced the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (29 January).

He said while his client’s charge may be upgraded to grievous bodily harm, he would plead not guilty to inflicting actual bodily harm on the acting sergeant as he “vehemently denies” causing an injury to that officer.

Mr Banwell said that according to the police’s allegations, Sharma’s consumption of drugs or alcohol appeared to be a risk factor, but he argued his client had demonstrated a very high degree of insight into the relationship between his mental health and consumption of substances.

He was also motivated to comply with bail conditions as he was in the final stage of enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force, which he was trying to join because he was “keen to serve our country”, the lawyer said.

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The prosecutor, who opposed bail, argued Sharma had a lengthy criminal history and there was a significant likelihood of him allegedly reoffending if he was released.

Magistrate Jane Campbell said there was no allegation of dangerous driving, which would have put other road users at risk.

She said while it was not unreasonable to think he may get a sentence of imprisonment if convicted of these fresh allegations, she was impressed at how he had been taking steps to address his substance use and she wanted to give him a chance to show he was committed to his recovery.

Bail was granted on conditions, including he not use drugs, and the matter was adjourned to 7 March.

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