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Melbourne protester admits assaulting two police officers and hitting horse in head | Australian police and policing

A Melbourne protester has admitted throwing a heavy traffic bollard at a female officer and hitting a police horse in the head during separate anti-lockdown rallies.

Dennis Basic, 42, pleaded guilty to 12 charges in Victoria’s county court on Tuesday, which included assaulting two police officers, recklessly causing injury and animal cruelty.

Appearing via video link from the Metropolitan Remand Centre, he also admitted illegally possessing batons, flick knives, capsicum spray and a stash of unauthorised fireworks.

The Narre Warren man faces up to 15 years in prison.

In October 2020, Basic was attending a protest in the Melbourne CBD, in breach of public health orders, when he tried to push past a police officer at a roadblock.

He grabbed the officer, tried to get him to fight, and then ripped the officer’s police-issued baseball cap off his head.

Then, while wielding a “resist” flag, Basic used the flag’s pole to hit a police horse in the head multiple times.

He was charged over these offences, with officers searching his home and finding a number of illegal weapons and fireworks.

While on bail Basic attended another anti-lockdown protest in July 2021, picked up an orange traffic bollard and threw it at Sen Const Christine Brown, who was mounted on a horse.

Brown said the bollard was heavy and it hit her head, neck and shoulders, leaving her in pain for about two months.

She said it could have led to a riderless horse running through the crowd, had she of fallen off.

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The defence barrister, Oliver Smith, said Basic’s offending was spontaneous, unplanned and opportunistic, and his client was “emotionally charged” by the protests.

He said Basic was embarrassed by his offending, wished to apologise and the weapons were for his own self-defence.

The prosecutor, Michelle Zammit, said Basic’s actions may have been unplanned, but they were “very deliberate” and targeted clearly uniformed police officers.

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Judge Douglas Trapnell was critical of Basic’s actions in returning to another protest and committing further offences while on bail.

“Having been bailed, charged, he goes back and does it again, he picks up a bollard and throws it at a policewoman on a police horse, causing injury which lasts two months,” he said.

“It was an unprovoked attack on a police officer doing their duty.”

Basic remains in custody and will return to court for sentencing on 21 June.

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