Shadow Minister for Police Peter Katsambanis has slammed the suspended jail term handed to a man who spat at police and claimed he had COVID-19. 

“Police officers across Western Australia have every right to feel angry and let down when criminals who spit on police and claim they have COVID get away with such lenient sentences,” Mr Katsambanis said. 

“The suspended jail term handed to Leroy Thomas Diner appears to make no sense at a time when the entire community is aware of the potentially devastating impact of the pandemic we are dealing with. 

“This soft sentence explodes the myth the McGowan Labor Government keeps promoting that by increasing maximum sentences we will somehow see higher sentences handed to criminals through the court system. 

“Without a mandatory minimum jail sentence for people who spit on police, criminals will continue to get away with this vile and highly dangerous behaviour. This will simply add to the daily danger and stress confronted by our police officers and their families.” 

Mr Katsambanis said the previous Liberal Government introduced tough mandatory minimum jail terms for people who assaulted police officers and caused them bodily harm. 

“If the current government is genuinely committed to properly protecting our overworked and under-resourced police officers they would extend these tough penalties to anyone who spits on police or who exposes them to other potentially dangerous bodily fluids,” Mr Katsambanis said. 

“The Government must also explain what actions they are taking to appeal this soft sentence handed to a man with a horrible past history of assaults on public officers and hospital workers. 

“Unless the Government takes immediate action, it will simply confirm that it only pays lip service to protecting the men and women who step up every day to protect all of us.”