The man who assaulted a police officer in Victoria with a metal baseball bat, leaving the officer bleeding on the pavement and fearful for his life, has been sentenced to prison.
On Friday, 50-year-old Steven Cleary was given a sentence of three years and two months in prison for the horrible assault in Victoria’s south-west and was filmed on police body cameras.
During a COVID-19 lockdown in Warrnambool in October 2017, Senior Constable Rowan Baldman and Constable William Ringin were talking to members of the public about wearing masks. At the time of the assault, they were engaged in this conversation.
According to what was said in court, Cleary was notified of their encounters via walkie talkie, and when she arrived, she found the cops conversing with someone else.
Cleary got out of his car, grabbed a metal baseball bat from the backseat, and started walking towards the officers, attempting to determine the identity of a person who was not wearing a mask.
The officers prepared to use their tasers and warned Cleary several times to back off or risk being shocked.
Cleary swung the baseball bat into Baldman’s skull while he was engaged in a struggle with a member of the public, which caused Baldman to fall to the ground.
Baldman was thrown to the ground multiple times, and he later told the court that he was afraid he would die.
Both cops testified in court about how the assault had a profound impact on their lives and shared their concerns that Baldman could have passed away on the sidewalk on the day of the incident.