Student nurse sentenced for assaulting police at Mardi Gras
A NURSING student put his future in jeopardy after he pushed a police officer at Mardi Gras celebrations to let his friend escape arrest.
Police were able to quickly identify the Tweed man using a social media campaign using images from CCTV of the incident in Sydney which prompted him to attend the police station.
Jake Fittler, 22, appeared in Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday to plead guilty to assaulting a police officer and hindering police.
Fittler was with two friends at Wynyard Railway Station about 6.50pm on February 29 for Mardi Gras when one of his friends avoided paying for his trip.
When approached by police, the friend tried to run away before being restrained and after a brief struggle fell to the ground.
As his friend was being handcuffed, Fittler used his left hand to push the officer in the chest so he fell backwards allowing his friend to escape from the scene.
Fittler also fled on foot.
Defence solicitor Mitchell Cavanagh said Fittler made a "spur of the moment and foolish decision" which he put down to immaturity.
He said his client was remorseful and of prior good character.
As the surf shop worker is studying a Bachelor of Nursing, Mr Cavanagh said Fittler had to go through a 'security assessment' to complete his placements after disclosing his charges to NSW Health.
The court heard the process was stressful and Fittler had already missed two placements because of his charges.
"He said to me he never ever wants to put himself in a situation to under go this again," Mr Cavanagh said.
"He was left in limbo about whether as a consequence of his behaviour he could complete his studies or not."
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy sentenced Fittler to a 12-month Conditional Release Order.
No conviction was recorded.