Wild night ends in court

GARRY Robert Lacey, accused of trying to kill a policeman at Park Beach, looked tired in Coffs Harbour Local Court yesterday.

The slightly built 44-year-old from Prince James Avenue, with tousled hair and marks on his pale face, wore a blue jumper in the dock, where he initially stood with his arms folded. After he sat down, he frequently closed his eyes and appeared to nod off.

Magistrate Judith Fleming told Lacey he was charged with attempted murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and driving while disqualified.

When she asked him if he would have a lawyer, he at first shook his head and then said 'no', and later said 'I think I know my rights'.

He also told her it would take him only 'five minutes' to read what she expected to be a large prosecution brief.

Lacey did not seek bail. The case was adjourned to August 12.

Earlier, police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Neville Glover told the court corrective service officers were worried about Lacey fronting court because of his behaviour in the police cell.

“He had to be restrained by four officers at one stage,” Sgt Glover said.

He said Lacey had removed his pants in his cell, and had told a Legal Aid solicitor he didn't want to talk to him.

“It seems he is coming down from something,” Sgt Glover said.

This is what police allege happened on Monday:

At 9.30am, Lacey drove a dark green Falcon station wagon from Prince James Avenue into Marcia Street and onto the Pacific Highway.

His car spun as he reached the Bailey Centre, where he filled up with gas. However, when a man, 62, challenged him about his driving, Lacey grabbed his throat and lifted him off the ground.

Lacey finished filling his car and then punched the man. Lacey didn't pay for the gas and drove erratically at the centre, where he hit two parked cars. He drove north on the highway and ran a red light at the Marcia Street intersection.

A senior constable in a marked car was now on the lookout for Lacey, and when the officer drove into Vincent Street, he saw Lacey's car at the far end, facing east. Lacey was standing near the car. The officer stopped 20 metres from Lacey's car and got out. However, Lacey got back behind the wheel and revved the engine.

Lacey ignored the officer when he yelled at him to get out of the car. Fearing for his safety, the officer drew his weapon and kept yelling at Lacey to get out. Lacey then sped at the officer, who tried to retreat, but Lacey slammed into the police car and the officer, knocking him down behind his vehicle.

Lacey stopped 30 metres away and turned around. The officer was back on his feet as Lacey again accelerated at him. The officer dashed onto the footpath and behind a tree. Lacey drove onto the path at the officer, who dived out of the way. Lacey smashed a wall and then opened his door.

The officer stood up and again pointed his firearm at Lacey, and yelled at him to put his hands above his head.

Instead, Lacey started reaching under his seat. Again fearing for his life, the officer shot twice, with the rounds hitting Lacey's car.

Lacey wrestled the officer, who yelled for people to phone for help. When Lacey broke free, he was hit with capsicum spray and ran off.

Another police officer arrived and they chased Lacey into a unit block, where police arrested him.

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