Aussie paramedics protest court's decision not to jail women who beat ambulance worker

  • 16/05/2018
Caris Underwood and Amanda Warren will not face jail time.
Caris Underwood and Amanda Warren will not face jail time. Photo credit: AAP

Two Australian women who assaulted a paramedic as he tried to treat an unconscious man have been spared jail time.

Amanda Warren, 33, and Caris Underwood, 20, pleaded guilty to beating Melbourne ambulance worker Paul Judd in 2016 while they were intoxicated.

Mr Judd was repeatedly punched and left with a broken foot, and needed three operations. Due to his injuries, he has been unable to return to work since the incident.

In 2014 Victoria introduced a law which said anyone who intentionally injures an emergency worker must be imprisoned for at least six months, unless there are 'special reasons'.

Warren and Underwood were originally sentenced to six months and four months in jail respectively.

On Tuesday (local time), Victoria County Court judge Barbara Cotterell quashed those sentences because she said the women met the requirements for those 'special reasons' and should not be imprisoned.

She said Warren's "impaired mental function" meant she couldn't be held fully responsible for her part in the assault.

Underwood suffers from "psychosocial immaturity" and was only 18 at the time of the attack.

Judge Cotterell also cited the womens' traumatic childhoods and young families as reasons why the state's 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.

Mr Judd, who worked as a paramedic for more than 40 years, was visibly upset by the outcome, and told media outside the court that he felt justice had not been served.

The decision provoked outrage among Victoria's paramedic community, many of whom wrote the message 'It's not ok to assault paramedics' on the windows of their ambulances.