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Released April 29, 2015

Supreme Court Justice Robert Mitchell today imposed a nine-year sentence on Russell Graham Penny, who was found guilty of endangering the life, health or safety of Sergeant Mick Williams with intent to cause him harm.

However, Justice Mitchell made Penny eligible for parole after serving seven years, backdated to November, 2013.

This means the convicted rapist and murderer may only end up serving just five more years in custody, which is less than half of the maximum penalty for this offence.

President George Tilbury said this sentence did not reflect the seriousness of putting the lives of two police officers in severe danger.

“This sentence is a slap in the face to all hard working police officers in the state of Western Australia and we have urged the DPP to appeal because the sentence should reflect the severity of the crime,” Mr Tilbury said.

“There was clear intent on the behalf of the offender to do harm to these particular police officers.”

WAPU noted Justice Mitchell’s comments that police officers place themselves in danger for the protection of the community and because of their selfless actions, they deserve the protection of the law.

However, the Union believes the sentence does not reflect Penny’s intent to endanger the life of the officers or the psychological harm that has come as a result of his actions.

“This has had a very traumatic effect on the two officers involved in this incident and it will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” Mr Tilbury said.

“Make no mistake, this was a life or death struggle for these two police officers and they were lucky to come away with their lives. We could have easily been attending two police funerals.”


BACKGROUND
Penny was stopped for a random breath test, licence and vehicle check on the night of 29 November on Albany Highway in Crossman by Senior Constable Emma Needs and Sgt Williams.

Penny was secreting a sawn-off shotgun from the officers and eventually a struggle ensued. Penny refused to relinquish the stolen modified gun and it was waved in the face of both officers numerous times. They both feared for their lives that night.

Sen. Const. Needs managed to shoot Penny in the abdomen, saving the life of her partner and herself.

Penny was found guilty after a five-day trial in the Supreme Court in October 2013.