Police dog attacker thought he was saving son
A man who struck a police dog multiple times with a metal pole later explained that he thought he was defending his son from an attack.
An Ipswich court heard Kalumbwa Rashidi delivered a series of blows to police dog Cozza in the pre-dawn mayhem, after hearing a noise outside and discovering the dog had a hold of his son's arm.
Kalumbwa Rashidi, 45, from Redbank Plains, appeared before Ipswich Magistrates Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to injuring a police dog at Redbank Plains on December 4, 2019.
In evidence put by police prosecutor Jack Scott the incident occurred at 3.50am after police were called to the neighbourhood to investigate a report of an assault and attempted car stealing.
Officers from the police dog squad saw a group of four people and announced themselves as police.
Two males were intercepted but a female and a male fled on foot.
Cozza and his handler tracked a male hiding behind a shed off a track near Branxton Court.
The young man ran to the back door of a nearby house but Cozza apprehended him with "a controlled dog bite" to the left forearm.
The court heard Rashidi and others came running outside and Rashidi was seen to pick up a metal pole and begin striking Cozza's head and right torso a number of times.
An interpreter was used in the courtroom for Rashidi, who was born in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Defence lawyer David Rawnsley argued for a minimal sentence due to the unusual circumstances.
He said Rashidi supported a family of 11 living under one roof, receiving Centrelink benefits, and was learning English in order to improve his chances of finding employment.
"The police facts do not demonstrate that he went looking to commit a crime or is a violent person" Mr Rawnsley said.
"He instructed that he was asleep and was woken by a disturbance outside.
"On going outside he sees his son apparently being attacked on his left hand by a dog.
"He sees the dog he didn't know, and a stranger he didn't know yelling in English.
"He responded in a way many parents would when confronted by such a situation. To protect and save his child from harm.
"Mr Rashidi's act does not arise out of malicious intent. It does come from desperation to save his child."
Mr Rawnsley sought a fine as an appropriate penalty.
Magistrate Donna MacCallum said the agreed facts stated the officer had been in uniform and she asked whether the police dog was wearing something such as a police insignia that would have been clearly visible.
Mr Scott said police dogs do wear vests with the word Police.
Mr Rawnsley said Rashidi instructed he was "in somewhat of a daze after just waking up" and unaware the stranger was a police officer.
Ms MacCallum said she understood that the dog suffered no serious injuries, but did have some bruises.
She noted Rashidi had somewhat of a difficult upbringing in the Congo and now lived in a very different society where different rules applied.
Rashidi was fined $300. No conviction was recorded.