Rory James Constantino said he had no idea the officer, who kicked in the front door at 6am, and his colleague were policemen and thought a badge and warrant card flashed at him were “dodgy”.
Justice Peter Hamill granted the 27-year-old bail on Thursday in the NSW Supreme Court, describing the case as “quite unusual”.
He noted police “very strenuously” opposed bail, while the prosecutor’s “more restrained” position was to oppose it but to accept the “very live issue” was whether Constantino realised the men were police.
He faces seven charges including that he wounded Constable Jacob Vella, wilfully obstructed Constable Grant Koschel and, in the aftermath, assaulted and resisted two other officers after he was detained in June last year at his Sadleir home.
He’s accused of causing wounds to the neck and wrist of the 24-year-old constable, who had pursued him down the hallway into his bedroom.
“It was no doubt a terrifying experience for Mr Vella,” the judge said.
On the face of it, the charges were extremely serious involving the wounding of an officer who was acting in the execution of his duty in enforcing a warrant for the arrest of Constanino’s 61-year-old father, Ricky.
But the judge said it had not involved uniformed police, police sirens and the like.
He cited a photo of Const Koachel wearing a black t-shirt “with a kind of skull artistic work” on the front, although he said he did not know if Constantino saw that as he also was wearing a hoodie at the time.
The judge referred to Constantino’s “fairly colourful” police interview during which he said when he answered the door to Const Koschel he thought “it looked like he was there for trouble”.
The Crown contends he knew they were police.
But Constantino said he was frightened, thought his house was under attack, and made a stupid decision to try and defend himself after Const Vella kicked in the front door and chased him down the hallway.
Constantino asserted Const Vella kneed him in the head and bashed him, so he grabbed what he could before the officer “ran into the knife”.
Justice Hamill said some of Constantino’s answers were “lacking in credibility”, but he deemed the strength of the Crown case to be “moderately strong at best”.
A trial may not be held until next year and Constantino, who had no relevant record, had been in custody since June.
His bail conditions include the deposit of a $10,000 cash surety and reporting to police three times a week.
His father is already on bail, on charges of using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention and assaulting Const Koschel.
The case returns to Campbelltown Local Court on April 29.
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