'Vile' man threatened to infect police with COVID, hepatitis C

By Toby Vue
Warwick James Payne was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday for offensive behaviour in public, including threatening to infect police with COVID, and damaging property. Picture: Facebook

Less than two months after yelling at a supreme court judge who sentenced him to jail for a vicious assault on a woman, which included throwing knives, Warwick James Payne fronted another court for yelling and threatening to infect police with COVID.

The 54-year-old appeared via video link, donning sunglasses while inside a room, in the ACT Magistrates on Friday for sentencing related to offensive behaviour in a public place and damaging property - both to which he pleaded guilty.

He initially began yelling at the prosecutor before walking out of the room in anger.

Magistrate Beth Campbell said he could walk out "but I can proceed to sentence you in any event" because she did not "intend to delay the matter anymore".

A brief moment later, he came back in and apologised, saying: "I do like Ms Campbell."

Court documents state that in June 2020, Payne was yelling and threatening members of the public at Hawker shops.

When police approached him, he yelled at them, saying they were "land-grabbing c---s".

Police warned him he was breaching the peace and arrested him.

While they waited for a caged police car to arrive, he threatened to shoot the officers, threatened to spit on their faces, and repeatedly chanted "a good cop is a dead cop" and "death to all cops".

At the ACT Watch House, he threatened to infect police through scratching and spitting on them with COVID and hepatitis C.

"The defendant persisted in his aggressive and abusive conduct making all attempts at meaningful communication impossible," the court statement of facts reads.

Once he was in a cell, police then tried again, asking welfare questions to which Payne told them to "suck his mother's c--k" numerous times, even after officers left.

Payne then used soaked toilet paper to cover his cell's monitoring camera, continued his tirade of profanity at police, then ripped his mattress apart, as well as kicking the cell door.

In court, Magistrate Beth Campbell said his offending was "part and parcel" of his conduct, which includes "episodes of emotional dysregulation and abusive outburst".

"His language and the manner of his engagement [in Hawker] certainly would've tried even the most thick-skinned members of the community and I don't think there's any argument about that".


Ms Campbell fined him $3500 for both offences with no time to pay and said she would have imposed different penalties if not for the supreme court sentence on September 1 and the fact that Payne is set to appeal that decision.

"Your debt is due immediately," Ms Campbell said.

"The prosecutor about whom you were so discourteous also agreed to that course of action, so you can thank her.

"You do need to reflect on the way you've been behaving because you've been quite vile."

Payne responded with "yes, respect" and "thank you, your honour".

"I am embarrassed about my behaviour today towards the court," he said.

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