Victorian Ambo appalled as attackers spared jail

PARAMEDIC Paul Judd, who suffered injuries needing three operations, and still can’t work after he was bashed by two drunken women in Melbourne, is appalled that his attackers have “gotten away” with their crime.

Mr Judd wiped away tears as Amanda Warren, 33, and Caris Underwood, 22, had their jail sentences quashed on appeal on Tuesday.

“I just feel that justice hasn’t been done,” he said.

Warren and Underwood pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Judd, a paramedic with more than 40 years experience, as he treated an unconscious man in 2016.

Warren was sentenced to six months in jail, and Underwood four months, by Melbourne Magistrates Court. They appealed against their prison terms in the Victoria County Court.

Caris Underwood (left) is seen leaving the Victorian County Court in Melbourne this month. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett
Amanda Warren leaving court this month. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

Judge Barbara Cotterell on Tuesday said their difficult childhoods and young families meant the mandatory minimum six-month term should not apply.

“Whilst having enormous sympathy for the victims who were attacked while going about their duties as emergency workers … I have reached the conclusion that imposing the sentence at this stage would achieve little,” she told the court.

Victorian laws introduced in 2014 require anyone who intentionally injures an emergency worker to be imprisoned for at least six months, unless there are “special reasons”.

Judge Cotterell said she did not think Warren or Underwood were “suitable vehicles” for general deterrence and found their difficult childhoods constituted “special reasons”.

Details about the women’s past cannot be published for legal reasons, but the judge found Warren suffered from a mental illness and had impaired mental function.

Messages written on the back of ambulances following the court ruling.


She also said Underwood, who was 18 at the time of the assault, had a lowered psychosocial immaturity linked to her traumatic childhood.

Mr Judd was repeatedly punched and left with a broken foot while he and colleague Chenaye Bentley tried to treat an unconscious man at Reservoir on March 31, 2016.

The paramedic needed three operations and has been unable to return to work. Judge Cotterell apologised to Mr Judd after re-sentencing Warren to a three-year community corrections order and 150 hours of community work, while Underwood received a two-year order and 50 hours of unpaid work.

Caris Underwood pleaded guilty but avoided jail on appeal.

“I’m really sorry and can see that you are badly affected,” she told him.

Outside court, Mr Judd said he was appalled and devastated by Judge Cotterell’s decision, which also has implications for his colleagues.

“It just leaves the door open for everybody to have an excuse to do what they want with no repercussions,” he told reporters.

“And that’s basically what (those) people did — gotten away with it, no repercussions.” Mr Judd also said he had spent more time in hospital than the 14 days of pre- sentence detention the woman served after they were arrested.

Speaking on 3AW Drive yesterday, Victorian secretary of the Ambulance Employees Australia Union Steve McGhie said: “I’m quite disgusted with the outcome”.

Following the decision yesterday, ambulance officers protested by writing messages on the back of ambulances: “It’s not OK to assault paramedics”.