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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Cassandra Morgan

'Rampaging' crim who caused cop's pain eligible for parole in 2021

Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Swain sustained an injury to her hand, left, while trying to subdue a "hostile" Andrew Smith. Pictures: Supplied, Cassandra Morgan

A serial criminal will be eligible for parole in September next year after he went on a two-day "rampage", which ended with a police officer sustaining a painful injury.

Andrew Ross Smith fronted the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday. One of his "large number of victims", Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Swain, sat in the public gallery.

On Monday, the police officer read a victim impact statement to the court, describing her "disgusting" encounter with Smith at Canberra city watch house on June 30 last year.

At the time, 49-year-old Smith had been on a two-day crime spree. He struck a man with a shovel on June 28 and, on the same day, drove drunk, smashed into a stationary car and kept on driving.

On June 30, two days after he was arrested and ultimately granted bail, he swung a 90-centimetre axe in front of a man and used the same weapon to drunkenly smash up another man's Toyota Hilux.

By the time Smith arrived at the watch house on the evening of June 30, he was in an "aggressive" and "non-compliant" state.

He swore repeatedly at Detective Sergeant Swain and deliberately defecated in his pants.

It took several officers to restrain Smith and, in the process, the police officer said she broke her finger almost in half.

Detective Sergeant Swain said on Monday: "I know that Mr Smith did not attack Elizabeth ... he attacked the uniform despite never having any negative interactions with me and this is unacceptable."

She said her hand had been "dysfunctional" since the incident and she'd relied on colleagues to help her with simple tasks, like doing up her belt and washing her hair.

Although Detective Sergeant Swain hoped her hand would improve significantly and she'd be able to return to normal duties by next year, she wanted Smith to be held accountable for his actions.

On Tuesday, Magistrate Glenn Theakston said Smith had written a letter to his police officer victims, and described his behaviour at the watch house as "one of the worst things he had ever done".

The magistrate said: "Police officers have a difficult job. The role they provide is an essential service to the community.

"[Smith's] rampage ... is something that has left a mark on a number of people."

Mr Theakston said it was clear that Smith had caused the police officers involved grief, and he took that into account in sentencing.

He sentenced the 49-year-old to a total 21 months in prison, with a 15-month non-parole period expiring on September 27, 2021.

The sentence accounted for the time Smith has already served in jail on remand - 164 days - and a total eight charges, including three counts of resisting police.

Smith must also pay $2500 in fines for driving offences, and his driver's licence is disqualified for two years.

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