Wanaka cop ‘assault’ accused to be assessed

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A Wanaka man accused of assaulting a policeman and making threats to kill is likely to have a mental health assessment.

Peter John Barratt, 72, appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday (Monday) facing four charges relating to an incident on April 10 in which a senior constable sustained head, eye and rib injuries.

Solicitor Nic Soper, representing Barratt, says: “I have had several discussions with Mr Barratt and real difficulty obtaining coherent or consistent responses.”

The case was adjourned without plea until May 9 for a ‘Section 9’ hearing in Invercargill – which involves the police demonstrating there is a case to answer.

If the case proceeds onwards, Barratt will be assessed by a forensic nurse under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003.

Barratt is charged with assaulting senior constable Sean Hurley plus threatening to kill Hurley, his daughters and a fellow officer constable Reed.

Barratt is also charged with drink-driving with a reading of 751micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, having been convicted twice previously. The legal limit is 400mcg. He is also charged with resisting arrest.

Barratt had been taken into custody the day after being granted bail at his court appearance on April 11, after breaching those conditions. He was remanded in custody until May 9.

A police statement after the incident said senior constable Hurley had stopped a motorist in Makarora for a routine breath test at 3pm that day after road workers reported a suspected drink driver heading towards Wanaka.

After failing the test, the motorist was asked to accompany senior constable Hurley to Wanaka – on the way, the motorist is alleged to have kicked the officer in the head and attempted to gouge his eye.

Wanaka sub-area commander senior sergeant Allan Grindell says senior constable Hurley stopped his car and restrained the man before continuing.

However, the man began “playing up” in the back seat again as the car approached the Makarora Country Café so senior constable Hurley pulled into the café forecourt, restrained him again and radioed for help.