It is “unforgivable” a woman bit a police officer twice when they were just doing their job, a court has heard.
Court documents show at about 8:30 am on 25 July 2019, Dionne Lynne Turner was seen reaching speeds of 144km/h in her blue Hyundai Getz on the Federal Highway and failed to stop for police.
When Turner’s car finally came to a halt at red traffic lights on Northbourne Avenue in Dickson, two police officers attempted to arrest her.
One officer told her to leave the car, but when she would not move, he reached across her to undo her seatbelt.
“Don’t you f—-n’ touch me,” she yelled.
She grabbed and bit his arm, then kicked him in the leg.
When the police officer began dragging her from the driver’s seat, she bit him on the little finger.
After she had been moved out of the car, she grabbed and pulled at the officer’s holstered gun, apparently attempting to take the weapon, and when handcuffed, she continued to attempt to reach for his gun and kick him.
About a month later, she told police she did not remember the incident. She spent 10 months in jail after her arrest for other offences.
Turner pleaded guilty to charges of assault and two counts of resisting a Territory public official, for which she faced five years’ jail.
During her sentencing in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (4 May), her father spoke openly to the court about his daughter after being invited to do so by Magistrate Beth Campbell.
“Dionne came out of custody and has improved greatly. I can’t give up smoking, but she has,” he said.
“The turnaround is unbelievable.
“She’s not on drugs now.”
Turner’s Legal Aid lawyer told the court her client had been seeing a psychologist for the past three months and had been making significant strides with her mental health.
The lawyer said Turner had a working diagnosis of anxiety, and it was when she got overwhelmed “that’s when things go wrong”.
She said the 38-year-old, who lives in Welby in NSW, was very remorseful for her actions and was now a different person from the one she was in July 2019.
Magistrate Campbell said Turner’s conduct was appalling, describing the assault as a “really unpleasant incident”.
She said, “police officers are just doing their job, just like everyone”.
“One of them was bitten by you twice, and that’s unforgivable,” she said.
Magistrate Campbell said while jail was the “only possible penalty” to the recent charges, she also believed sending her back to prison would be a backwards step when it came to her rehabilitation.
She said she took into account that after Turner’s arrest, she had spent 10 months in jail for other matters and appeared to have improved since her release.
Magistrate Campbell ultimately sentenced her to eight months in jail, suspended for a 12-month good behaviour order.
“I did come down wondering how I would avoid sending you to jail,” she told Turner.
She said hearing from her father had been beneficial.
Outside the courtroom, after the sentencing, one of Turner’s family members made sure Turner got the message, telling her: “Your Dad saved your arse”.