Prisoner in cell spits at guards

TWO prison guards had to have blood tests for disease after a newly-sentenced prisoner spat apple in their faces.

Neil Reginald Johnson was in a Supreme Court holding cell waiting to be transported to prison after being sentenced on January 28.

Johnson, 30, became frustrated and agitated at how long the process was taking and started yelling profanities at the Corrective Services guards.

As the guards walked past his cell he hoisted himself up and spat an apple he was eating over the top of the door, hitting the officers in the face and head with chewed up fruit and spittle.

The guards had to have blood tests to confirm they had not been infected with a disease.

Johnson pleaded guilty at Ipswich Magistrates Court to two counts of serious assault on Corrective Services officers.

Defence lawyer Vincent Knox said his client had just learnt of a death in the family and was upset about it, "but that's not an excuse".

Mr Knox said Johnson was worried about how long it was taking for the guards to prepare his paperwork to transport him to prison.

"He was fearful he'd be stuck there over the weekend," Mr Knox said.

Magistrate Michael Quinn said Johnson's actions would have caused a great deal of "concern, stress and trauma" to the guards.

"It is a foul and disgusting act," Mr Quinn said.

"The protection and security of prison officers is of greatest concern to the court and the community."

Johnson was sentenced to six months in prison, to be suspended after two months.

In addition to his sentence at the Supreme Court, Johnson's parole eligibility date will be on January 6, 2012.



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