It is hard to imagine why someone would choose a career as a prison guard. It must be a hell of a way to make a living, being locked up with the most anti-social members of the community - or more accurately, people who have been denied membership of the community on account of being so anti-social.

Prison guard Terry Dolling lays into spitting prisoner Daniel Vos.

Anyone who finds themselves considering working in this thankless high-risk occupation is now probably less inclined to do so, after a strange court decision saw a corrections officer facing seven months in jail after being gobbed on by a convicted gangster with Hepatitis C at a Newcastle lockup.

The jailing of prison guard Terry Dolling is strange on several levels. It’s strange because he has a completely blemish-free record throughout a fairly long career in corrections. It’s strange because not even the Crown was seeking jail time in prosecuting Dolling but was happy for the charges to be dismissed under section 10. It is most strange because of the level of provocation he was forced to endure, copping a faceful of saliva from a hyper-aggressive prisoner who was refusing to take instructions and had to be locked in his cell.

The footage of Dolling laying into prisoner Daniel Vos is pretty full-on. Dolling exploded and punched him in the head 20 times. The guard landed a few good ones and left the prisoner with a cut lip, bruising and abrasions, probably a bit of a headache. Breaks your heart.

What the court saw as unjustified thuggery seemed to me to be a perfectly defensible and fairly approximate human response to what had Dolling had just been forced to endure. As such, surely it is the prisoner, and not the prison guard, who should be blamed for what happened next? Dolling’s instantaneous reaction would be the reaction of any reasonable person. The comments of the magistrate in this case again highlight the gulf between what a reasonable person would think, and the way the courts think, as in this case they appear to have stunned even the prosecution by putting Dolling away.

Toronto Local Court Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson started her judgment with this promising observation: “There’s no dispute that spitting in someone’s face and eye is a dreadful thing.” Indeed. Although sadly for Mr Dolling, it was all downhill from there.

“As difficult as it may be when a person is a victim of crime he or she must leave it to the appropriate authorities to deal with the matter,” Magistrate Atkinson continued.

“It was a gross breach of his duty of care to Mr Vos, a person in a vulnerable position in that he was confined to his cell and could not escape.”

So the first thing Dolling should have done was to sit back and calmly wipe the Hep C-infected spit from his face, in the hope that someone would arrest Vos, that he would then be charged, the matter would proceed through the courts swiftly, and time would be added to his sentence. This suggests an extraordinarily high level of faith and patience, indeed a super-human level of faith patience, at the unlikely prospect of the cogs of justice ever kicking into gear.

The second thing Dolling should have done was realise that he owes a duty of care to someone who is trying to assault and possibly infect him.

The prison officers’ union has embarked on an industrial campaign against this decision and the precedent it sets. I’m not normally someone who would cheer on a strike but in this case I wish them the very best of luck as they withdraw their labour. The men and women who work in our prisons get paid bugger-all and endure the most hellish conditions, and if a court reckons that their day job should now include remaining happy and relaxed as they get spat at by people with communicable diseases, they have every right to clock off until sanity is restored and community standards are upheld.

Most commented


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    • Carz says:

      06:48am | 05/06/12

      I’m sorry but I agree with the magistrate; provocation does not justify assault. If we ride with that one then every cop on earth would have the right to kick the living crap out of anyone who “provoked” them. Let’s face it, it isn’t as if the crim was going to be able to run away after he spat on the corrections officer. And maybe we need to remember that a clean record may mean one of two things; he truly was a good guy and this was the first time he had ever done anything like this, or he had never been caught or written up for previous incidents.

    • Nathan says:

      07:12am | 05/06/12

      They get paid and trained to deal with people like this. It is simply there job, he obviously did something against regulation to be charges. I do tend to think a custodial sentence is a bit much though.

    • Hank says:

      08:29am | 05/06/12

      Ah, and so the tirade of left wing bleeding heart dribble begins….

    • iansand says:

      08:38am | 05/06/12

      The provocation does not justify the assault, but it explains it.  I don’t think anyone expected an acquittal here, which would be appropriate if the provocation justified the assault.

      However explanatory circumstances are always relevant to mitigation of sentence and it is puzzling why this guard received a harsher sentence than some one involved in a pub brawl, with less provocation.  Such a person would not normally even go to prison for a first offence.

    • Little Joe says:

      09:07am | 05/06/12

      When are imbeciles like you going to realise that the only reason the prisoner spat in the officers face is because he thought that he has going to get away with it. This scumbag knew that he had HEP.C, he knew he was contagious, and knew that there was a possiblity of giving the guard the disease by spitting at his face.

      “HA,HA,HA,HA!!!” I spat in your face and now you have Hepatitis C and there is nothing that you can do about it. 

      “HA,HA,HA,HA!!!” Now you have a dibilitating disease, because there is no vaccine ..... you can’t make love to your wife, can’t kiss your children good night ...... and there is nothing you can do about it!!!

      “HA,HA,HA,HA!!!” You think that I am in prison ..... you’re the one in a prison now!!! And there is nothing you can do about it!!!

      “HA,HA,HA,HA!!!” and there is nothing you can do about it ..... “HA,HA,HA,HA!!!” and there is nothing you can do about it .... “HA,HA,HA,HA!!!” and there is nothing you can do about it!!!! Because there are imbeciles, like Carz, who think that my rights are more important than yours. Because there are imbeciles, like Carz, who think that I should be allowed to spit on your face and you should simply cop it sweet!!! It doesn’t matter what incurable disease that I could give you ..... YOU SHOULD COP IT SWEET!!!

      Imbeciles like you think that this vile man should be able to spit on the face of anyone without retaliation. Sorry ..... I do not agree!!!

    • Swampy says:

      09:11am | 05/06/12

      Agree with the magistrate also. And Hep C infected saliva? You are aware that Hep C is a blood borne virus not a saliva borne one right? If the prisoner had bleeding gums there may be a minute amount of virus in the saliva but not enough for transmission to occur via spitting. You’re not confusing Hep C with the more virulent Hep B are you?

    • Jeff from Meroo says:

      09:29am | 05/06/12

      He got time not for the beating but for not turning the camera off first.  There is a time and place for everything and although I’m 150% for his response to what might be considered attempted murder, serving up a fist (or 20) of payback ON FILM is the crime here and hopefully all correction officers have learned that lesson.  Next time they’ll wipe their face, lock the door, go turn off the camera, then come back with tasers, battons and knuckle dusters to administer the justice the bleeding hearts can’t stand to see on TV yet we all secretly want dished out.

    • Chris says:

      09:39am | 05/06/12

      Agreed - I don’t understand the Hep C thing.

      In reality, beating the hell out of the prisoner led the guard to have a greater chance of getting Hep C, given the cuts and scrapes that would be inevitable.


    • AJ Power says:

      10:05am | 05/06/12

      Provocation does justify assault. 

      Until you have been in this situation you can not comprehend how you will react.  At the most basic level what this guard did is known as flight or fight.  When a person perceives enough of a threat that they feel their life is in danger the response is an uncontrollable primitive reaction of survival.  When a person with a disease that can kill you spits that filthy disease ridden muck in your face you are at risk of catching it and ding.  Yes hep C kills people every year!  Seems to me his subconscious primitive brain took over and he attacked in self-defence.  Of course hitting a person with a Hep C and making them bleed is stupid beyond belief ... further confirmation of the horrifc shock and out of mind reaction that occured.  Hey ought to appeal plead not guilty get a dam good psychatrist, pshycologist and lawyer and his union should help all why they go on strike and bloke the $20 an hour casuals from entering the site.  (Or better yet when he appeals the DPP better NO BILL THE MATTER IN PUBLICS BEST INTEREST!!)

    • Little Joe says:

      10:12am | 05/06/12

      @ Swampy

      Let’s do an experiment ...... we will get 100 Hep C infected people to spit into your mouth and see if you contract a disease.

    • Carz says:

      10:43am | 05/06/12

      @ Little Joe, I’ve re-read what I wrote and don’t see that it says anywhere that I believe the crim should get away with spitting at the corrections officer. Maybe being a genius like you are means that you can read things that aren’t there. It is frightening, though, how little you know about diseases such as Hep C. Or maybe that’s more knowledge you’ve gained from reading things that aren’t written.

    • Swampy says:

      11:07am | 05/06/12

      @ Little Joe. No need, you’ve already shown in your first message how ignorant you are with regard to Hep C. It is not transmitted via saliva, It is not transmitted by kissing & it is not transmitted via sexual intercourse.
      You seem to have it confused with Hep B which can be transmitted via sexual intercourse. Please google Hep C & educate yourself before making any additional ignorant posts. Thank you.

    • andye says:

      11:14am | 05/06/12

      @Little Joe - You haver basically written a fanciful fiction of the motives and thoughts of the spitter and used that to justify your argument. How ridiculous.

    • D says:

      01:39pm | 05/06/12

      The provocation does not justify assault? He had Hep C, which can be transmitted through saliva. He tried to infect this guard with Hepatitis C. Sorry, but he didn’t get beat up badly enough.

    • bella starkey says:

      02:09pm | 05/06/12

      @ Little Joe

      My dad had hep C when I was a kid. We survived.

    • Jane says:

      04:11pm | 05/06/12

      The guard was jailed becuse he violently offended - just like any other offender, the purported reason was not relevant but at best it made his alleged response seem disproportionate.

      Provocation is a unpredictable defence even for battered wives.The law needs to be applied the same way for all offenders, regardless of which uniform they wear.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      04:41pm | 05/06/12

      Ah yes, those poor criminals, won’t someone think of their feelings? I say he should have punched him 30 times.

    • Sista girl says:

      09:29am | 07/06/12

      look at it this way…..if you were spat in the face by anyone on the street, or in your home, regardless if they had a communicable disease or not what would you do? Would you just stand there and cop it? I can guarantee you now that your first reaction would not be to stand there and take it on the chin. It wouldnt matter what your morals and thought were. You have no idea the crap that we deal with and i can guarntee people like yourself wouldnt last a minute!

    • Andrew M says:

      09:43pm | 07/06/12

      Comment to Nathan: Given your idea that one can be trained to be a super human in all contexts i.e. maintain calm after having saliva spat in your face by some disease ridden criminal I have assumed English is your fourth of fifth language; because on your logic your error is clearly the result of lack of “training” in the most basic of spelling/vocabulary. My ten year old child can “train” you on the difference between “there” and “their” (hint: there is a difference) when you have finished playing armchair cop/prisoner officer.

    • philip says:

      07:02am | 05/06/12

      yep its a stupid ruling indeed, mind you id never be a prison guard in todays society where its the crims that have all the rights especially since this Daniel Vos happens to have a highly infectious disease, maybe it might be time to bring back the Death penalty as well as personal responsibility also might be a good idea to put in our constitution that if you commit a crime that requires imprisonment then you lose all rights till your release?

    • TChong says:

      07:06am | 05/06/12

      On ya Penbo !!!!!
      Vigalante justice dealt out by the aggreived!
      With the CCTV footage availble of the incident, the posability of new charges laid was possible - with a resulting court case.
      But why be concerned with any type of judicial system?
      To follow Penbos logic, cops and other law enforcement types would have carte blanche to do whatever they want.
      A cop thinks that you may smugly larf off 2 or 3 demerit points for speeding,?
      then that cop should be able to administer an on the spot beating, right Penbo ?
      How about beating confessions out of people ?
      No probs hey Dave,?
        One question , should vigilante justice be administered to journalists who get facts wrong ?
      Tommorrows Punch article - David Zimmerman THE REAL VICTIM.
      Foxes of a feather , flock together

    • Samantha says:

      07:53am | 05/06/12

      TChong/Nathan/Right to Choice. How many handles do you need?

    • Sarah says:

      09:34am | 05/06/12

      Yes - remember the summary offences act? You could be locked up for whatever the cops thought was a good reason.

      Strangely, its abolition correlated with a huge increase in street violence and antisocial behaviour.

    • Pedro says:

      07:09am | 05/06/12

      Sorry Penbo. Thugs come in uniforms too. by your reasoning no one should be held to account for brutally bashing anyone who gives them reason to strike them.
      i’ll forgive the guard a punch or a slap because he was spat on. not 20 punches.

    • craig2 says:

      07:57am | 05/06/12

      Going by your logic Pedro, then you’ll be very forgiving and understanding if somebody spat in your face and perhaps in your mouth? As somebody who is, most likely, not trained to deal with confrontation, my guess is that you’ll probably retaliate in one way, shape or form. Human nature.

    • Steve says:

      08:52am | 05/06/12

      craig2, that’s the point.  The guard is trained to deal with confrontation and therefore his reaction ought have been different to the man in the street.

    • Pedro says:

      09:08am | 05/06/12

      Craig2 - I said I’d forive ONE punch. not 20. That might imply that I too would retaliate. but not with 20 punches.
      And when you are wearing a uniform [but have a chip on your shoulder because you weren’t smart enough to be a cop (which means some of them must be really dumb), but not psycho enough to be in the army] then you should probably have a little more restraint than Joe Sixpack. Remember these “guards” are trained to deal with these situations. You and I are not.

    • Borderer says:

      01:21pm | 05/06/12

      Depends on how you punch someone really, you can hit someone once, hard and do serious damage or you can give a pummeling with several less damaging blows.
      Hitting once (vulgar term is king hit), hard really does a lot of damage, if done by someone who knows what they’re doing of course, it can break bones, crush tissue, knock them out or even cause death.
      A pummeling is a series of lighter blows, these rattle the subject, cause superficial tissue damage and will leave the person dazed and bruised with little long term effect. Pummeling someone with a series of hard blows is firstly exhausting and secondly the person on the recieving end is likely to be dead.
      A conventional pummeling is likely to be a lesson in physical superiority, certainly a lot less damaging than a single heavy strike.
      I in no way say that the officer in question should not be dismissed from corrective services, I’m just saying that most of you know seem caught up on the number of blows rather than the ‘quality’.

    • Pedro says:

      03:31pm | 05/06/12

      @borderer - so it’s like that swimmer D’Arcy vs a catfight. D’arcy’s sneaky hit puts you in hospital whereas the girls in the catfight just embarrass each other while providing a great spectacle. Especially if clothing is ripped.

    • Borderer says:

      04:51pm | 05/06/12

      Something like that, it also depends on how much the target is protecting themselves. if you get a solid punch through their defence, that’s it shows over, yet if you’re throwing twenty, how many are really hitting? Sure if you get twenty solid blows through the guy is likely dead or on life support, yet twenty ineffectual blows and he’s likely going to be grinning back at you.
      Fact is most people (including reporters and lawyers) aren’t fighters, haven’t been in real fight, they get their cues from UFC and movies, they really have no idea what they see on camera footage.
      Case in point, the guy on the still photo above is on full defense, it will take a lot of force to hurt him in any serious way, his head is tucked in and there aren’t a lot of vulnerable points to hit, basically the officers are ineffectually whaling on the guy, you could hit him 50 times for a similar effect to 20. Their attack is from frustration and not well thought out, it would have been easier to cuff him and escort him to solitary where he can hit his head badly as he struggles with officers as they move him through a doorway, even on camera that can be easily viewed as an ‘accident’.
      My point is that this guy snapped, he was provoked and is not malicious (per my above example), just a human response to bad situation, he really should only be relieved of duty.

    • Tayug says:

      07:20am | 05/06/12

      by opening the cell door, the prison officer changed from being an officer to a thug, whether 9 months is too much let the appeal Court decide

    • stephen says:

      07:24am | 05/06/12

      I’d have given him a hiding too.
      From what I’ve been told, spending time in prison is not a punishment, and some prisoners feel that, because they’re on holiday and they get sometimes lumps in their mashed spud, they’re apt to slag off when they get no girly books after supper.
      Foolish, the guard did it with cameras ablaze ; he should have waited a bit until the laundry and tied a pillow-slip round his neck and checked out breaking points.

    • iansand says:

      08:40am | 05/06/12

      Who told you that prison is not a punishment?  I bet it wasn’t an ex-prisoner.

    • LostinPerth says:

      01:35pm | 05/06/12

      @ stephen - a prisoner actually told you he regarded prison as being on holiday?

    • TracyH says:

      07:28am | 05/06/12

      Penbo’s not saying he should be let off scott free. How about community service and the loss of his job? Suely that should be punishment enough? To lock him up is just ridiculously extreme and makes no allowance for mitigating circumstances. It also has wider reaching implications of increasing animosity between staff and prisoners. The punishment should be a deterrent…not add to already simmering tensions which could well result in further diminished rights of other prisoners who might feel the brunt of widespread animosity where there are no cameras around.

    • M says:

      07:34am | 05/06/12

      Hep C Isn’t transmitted via saliva.

    • VVS says:

      03:49pm | 05/06/12

      I know.\

      I think he’s confusing it with cooties…

    • Evalee says:

      08:03am | 05/06/12

      No! No! No!  As someone who worked in Canadian Corrections for 7 years, I can tell you that your thinking on this is very wrong and part of the reason prison is such an impossible place to create the right atmosphere for an inmate to be rehabilitated, even in the slightest degree. 

      Inmates have lost their freedom, THAT is their punishment.  As a guard you are not allowed to expose these already vulnerable people to further abuse - no matter the provocation.  I am not saying these inmates are not dangerous - they are very dangerous and cunning and clever.

      So we, as their jailers, must strive to be smarter and lead by example.  Corrections Officers are given intensive and ongoing training as well as having at their disposal all manner of arrest and control equipment.

      This guard lost his temper and hurt someone who was entrusted to his care.  It is that easy to become a criminal.

    • keyturner says:

      12:53pm | 05/06/12

      hahaha ongoing training!  Clearly you dont know anyonw who works for Corrective Services NSW.  The intention is great, however it is not reality.

    • gravy says:

      08:05am | 05/06/12

      Punching someone 20 times in the head is assault, spit or no spit. If this exact same scenario happened on the street, in someone’s home, at a club etc it would be regarded as a violent assault and you would want them charged and jailed. The fact the person who was getting assaulted is a convicted criminal doesn’t change the fact it is still a violent illegal act.

      It is not OK to punch someone 20 times in the head just because they were a total asshole, and as a trained guard who’s duty it is to look after the prisoners AND OBEY THE LAW he should of controlled his temper better. Its no excuse.

    • Bomb78 says:

      09:48am | 05/06/12

      Yeah, but I reckon if some thug walked up to me on the street, gave me a serve then spat on me, and I laid into him, then had my day in court with a jury I’d get off. Why? Because a jury would see that themselves in the same situation, and consider the second assault (the bashing) as a reasonable reaction to the first assault (the spitting). Especially in Queensland! Is it me or do these strange judgements seem to come from New South Wales more often than not?
      The point of the article isn’t the criminality of either action, but the fact the judge is not representative of what our broader society would consider reasonable. I would be interested to see what sentence the same judge would pass on the prisoner for his assault on the guard.
      And all the bleeding hearts here today - how about you go volunteer to take up a shift or two at your local maximum security prison while these guys are on strike? Walk a mile in their shoes before passing judgement from on high about thugs in uniforms and the like.

    • jules says:

      10:19am | 05/06/12

      If someone spat on you and you responded by punching them in the head 20 times then you would not get off.  You’d get convicted and hopefully locked up for your trouble.

    • Bomb78 says:

      12:26pm | 05/06/12

      Jules: don’t be so sure. I know of a cop who got off after breaking a prisoners jaw - on the grounds of the prisoner assaulting the cop first. Only reason the cop didn’t punch the guy 20 times was that he made the first couple count. It went through all the proper channels, got thrown out of court. Both his lawyer and the union considered it a reasonable response under the circumstances, and a judge agreed. It did harm his career, but he didn’t get locked up for it.

    • SAm says:

      08:06am | 05/06/12

      Havnt seen the video, dont need to. You provoke anyone in authority, you get whats coming. Couldnt give a damn about the prisoner. If hes not co-operating, acting violent, isnt it the JOB of the authorities to restrain him, even if that means knocking him a few in the head? A little discipline if over the top, sure, maybe a transfer out, but jailtime? Lock that bloody magistrate up with Daniel Vos.
      I swear its one rule for the criminals, another for law abiding citizens in this country

    • Monty says:

      10:02am | 05/06/12

      Yeah, criminals have no rights when in the presence of police while normal law abiding citizens have miinimal rights.

    • jg says:

      08:38am | 05/06/12

      Excellent article Penbo.

    • Smidgeling says:

      08:58am | 05/06/12

      To all those crying thuggery- maybe I’d be on your side if it was just spit, but not from a HIV infected prisoner. Being potentially infected with a deadly disease might provoke a more intense reaction from a guard methinks…

    • Mitch says:

      10:27am | 05/06/12

      So you are on the side of people crying thuggery, since it wasnt HIV.

    • Kaye says:

      10:30am | 05/06/12

      Where’d you get HIV from? He had HEP C, which isn’t transferable via saliva by the way.

    • Smidgeling says:

      11:36am | 05/06/12

      I was under the impression hep C and HIV were very closely related or somesuch? I was also under the impression it was transferrable by saliva, but far less likely?

      *shrugs* I suppose his actions were excessive in that case. I have little sympathy for criminals though.

    • LittleCate says:

      01:45pm | 05/06/12

      Smidgeling, you think HIV and Hep C are “closely related” ??? Seriously? And you think that HIV is transmitted through saliva ???
      Neither HIV nor Hep C are transmissible through saliva. And both are completely different.
      Please go do some reading, that comment is just embarassing to read

    • Kika says:

      01:52pm | 05/06/12

      Hep C = Liver Disease

      AIDS = Autoimmune system shut down

      Different things

    • Smidgeling says:

      03:16pm | 05/06/12

      Ok, so I was ignorant of what Hep C is. Thought it was related because the material I had previously read had “HIV/Hep C” in it. Meh, my mistake. The person was infected by two distinctly different things.

      Did some reading on HIV- apparently it is in saliva but “isn’t known to infect people”. Again, meh. However shall I live thinking that its presence would cause infection too? Oh lordy I dun mussed up ma’m.

    • Tom says:

      05:29pm | 05/06/12

      HIV? HepC? Where does it say the guard knew exactly what the prisoner had or could have had?

      BTW: provocation is cumulative. The officer had a blemish free track record.

      Could all the commentariat such as iansand etc, advise how much time they have spent in jails?

    • iansand says:

      05:49pm | 05/06/12

      Tom - Visited a couple a few times.  Spoken to a few crims.  Don’t like them.  But what difference does it make?  Have you actually read anything I have written in this thread, or are you just being a fool on principle?

    • darren says:

      09:01am | 05/06/12

      well said Penbo - I am surprised the warden allowed this low life scum to live - he should have kept beating him to death - and then been exonerated!

    • Borderer says:

      09:01am | 05/06/12

      Sorry but most of the posters have never had to deal with violent people, those who wish to dimiss all charges against the guard are one extreme and those that believe he should be jailed represent the other.
      In those situations I’d recommend dismissing the guard from the prison service, from experience I know that violence becomes easier the more frequently you use it and he would be on a slippery road to be one of those guards that kills a prisioner. By they same token I don’t believe he should face prison, the magistrate is a fool with no comprehension of what the guards go through.

    • Rose says:

      07:10pm | 05/06/12

      I have to say that I agree with you. This guard is no longer fit to be a prison guard but to imprison him is going too far. Apart from anything else, a prison guard is likely to be at extreme risk on the wrong side of the gates, making the sentence far too excessive. On the other hand, his actions were inexcusable, it is never OK for a person with that level of authority over another to just beat them, regardless of the circumstances. He would have been well trained in other techniques of restraint and control and have other avenues of punishment available to him. He appears to be a man who got to the end of his tether and just lashed out.

    • grg says:

      09:17am | 05/06/12

      Cops, thugs, prison guards
      All cut from the same mold.

      Hope this scumbag enjoys being on the in-side with his brothers.

    • Pedro says:

      10:36am | 05/06/12

      You forgot soldiers, bouncers and bikies

    • Martin says:

      03:21pm | 05/06/12


      Mixing your metaphors much ?

      “Cut from the same cloth”

      “Cast in the same mold”

    • Max Power says:

      09:18am | 05/06/12

      It might be different in NSW, but when I was working as a Prison Guard as a casual, I was earning a motza for only working 5 -7 days a fortnight. For the most part the job was pretty cushy, with only the occassional incident.

    • MarkS says:

      09:33am | 05/06/12

      Toronto Local Court Magistrate. There was a reason that Kirby often used Canadian court judgments to back up his dissenting judgments

    • hot tub political machine says:

      09:37am | 05/06/12

      Why become involved with corrections indeed – it does seem like a job with low rewards. On the other hand – seems to be an awful lot of needles getting into prisons despite the work of these people doesn’t it? Are we still sure there aren’t many rewards?

    • Mitch says:

      09:51am | 05/06/12

      And now The Punch defends prisoner abuse. Can’t say I’m surprised.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      09:53am | 05/06/12

      This is so typical of Australian (& other Western societies?) sociaety today.
      It is all about protecting the claimed ‘righjts’ of those in the wrong. Prisoners, rapists, shop-lifters (in high positions) paedophiles etc. have more rights than their victims. SA had a high-profile politician caught blatantly shop-lifting & she got off. Why? It wasn’t as if she was simply suspected of stealing she was caught red-handed. Her victims were criticised. The biggest scam today is to bring in Psychologists & Psychiatrists by people charged with offences. If you are highly paid you can afford the best psycho-babblers who dream up hitherto unknown, unexpected “Mental Health Conditions” & the criminal was therefore not responsible for her/his actions.
      Bullshit!, Absolute, Total Bullshit.
      The Courts are to blame. Soft-“socially Aware” governments & the bleeding hearts within them - particularly the top Government Law Officer: Attorney’s General.
      In this case the guard was wrong but just what sort of response did the criminal expect after he had assaulted that guard with his Hep C infected saliva? A pat on the back, a cuddle & then a nice cup of tea, a bex Powder & a Honey Log, follwed by a nice lie down in some 5-Star Hotel?
      The case should have been thrown out. The Prison Guard reprimanded & the criminal’s legal team charged with Wasting Police & Court time.
      By the by, who paid the criminal’s legal team? Us?

    • Chris says:

      09:58am | 05/06/12

      I don’t understand people who defend the indefensible.

      Yes - the inmate was being nasty.  That’s hardly surprising in that environment.  It’s also something that guards are (or should be) trained and prepared for, to react to appropriately.

      Quite simply - it is not OK to beat someone.

      The threshold that seems to be espoused by Penbo in this article is that it’s OK to beat someone as long as they’ve done something wrong. 

      I don’t understand that thinking at all.  The guard lost his temper - plain and simple. 

      Would it still be OK if the prisoner was a woman?  What about if it was a child’s correctional facility?

      Would it be OK for a husband to beat his wife if she spat on him?

      Would it be OK if the prisoner was disabled?  What about if he/she was on medication and couldn’t control their actions well?

      Can I turn around and flog somebody who bumps me in the street and doesn’t apologise?

      Maybe I should be allowed to ram my car into somebody who cuts me off in the street?

      All of these people may have wronged me.  If my response is aggression and violence, then I am not acting courageously - I am taking the easy path.  I’m saying “you have wronged me - well watch how I can wrong you EVEN BETTER”.

      The people that we retaliate against look at us and see that they are just as they should be.  After all, everybody acts out of anger, right?  Everybody seeks revenge, don’t they?  There can’t be anything wrong with what they did to us if we react in the same way, can there?

      How much better would it be for me to say “You have wronged me, but you must know that there is a better way to live.  I will show you how it is that a man reacts to be being wronged - not through anger or retaliation - but through forgiveness and love”.

      That is how we raise the bar for behaviour in this country.  That is how we are an example to our children, our friends and our colleagues.  We should each be living examples of how to behave - not examples of how NOT to behave.


    • TracyH says:

      10:17am | 05/06/12

      I agree whole-heartedly with you, Chris. I just don’t think a prison term is appropriate here. Suspended sentence? Yes. Commumity service? Yes. If we can show a higher way of being a society, we should also consider a more reasoned, thought out deterrent. Sentencing a prison officer to prison is akin to a crule and unusual, almost spiteful punishment.

    • TracyH says:

      10:17am | 05/06/12

      I agree whole-heartedly with you, Chris. I just don’t think a prison term is appropriate here. Suspended sentence? Yes. Commumity service? Yes. If we can show a higher way of being a society, we should also consider a more reasoned, thought out deterrent. Sentencing a prison officer to prison is akin to a crule and unusual, almost spiteful punishment.

    • Chris says:

      10:37am | 05/06/12

      Hi TracyH,

      To an extent, I didn’t really touch on my opinion about the sentence for the guard, because I’m not sure if I have a strong or reasoned opinion about it.  On the one hand, it could be said that guards should be held to a higher standard, to make it clear that this kind of reaction cannot be condoned.  On the other, his actions were possibly understandable, although wrong in my view.

      I’m not sure that his case should be treated much differently to if the same thing happened in a nightclub or a park.  I’m not sure how this sentence compares with similar cases so it’s hard to say if that’s happened.

      If anything, I think the guard’s actions make it clear that he is now (even if he wasn’t before) in the wrong job.  That would probably be a starting point.


    • Steve Howton says:

      10:38am | 05/06/12

      Yours was, in my opinion, a very well written response to the story. There is no excuse for the sort of violence this guard inflicted on the prisoner whilst in company with another guard.

      Having said that, I believe that a custodial sentence is an excessive way of punishing the guard. If this situation had happened between members of the public I doubt that a prison sentence would have been seen as appropriate. The situation should, in my view, have been handled “in-house” with perhaps suspension without pay or even dismissal. This would extend a message to other guards that they are professionals and must at all times behave that way.

      I felt that the author of this article was certainly appearing to approve of the violence. “...cut lip, bruising and abrasions, probably a bit of a headache. Breaks your heart.” Can the author be sure that they were the only injuries? Is the author medically qualified or been able to view any medical reports? Is it the author’s suggestion that guards should be permitted to inflict punishment when none has been ordered by any authority?

      I say that the behaviour by the guard was unacceptable and must be punished. But I cannot accept that he should be imprisoned unless there is a history of this behaviour.

    • gordie says:

      06:20pm | 05/06/12

      cris I bet you were the kid at school who ran to the teacher everytime something happened to you. If the prison guard said, you have wronged me ,but you must know there is a better way to live, the prisoner would have laughed and spat at him again

    • chuck says:

      10:08am | 05/06/12

      Spare the rod and spoil the child Chris . There is no bar for behaviour nowadays and children seem to be aware that they can act without consequence, try talking to some high school teachers for example. A good kick up the but or chastisement does not do any harm but is indeed a very successful corrective measure IMO. Unfortunately our society is not over represented by living examples of how to behave (albeit decently and properly). Just ask the victims.

    • Chris says:

      10:30am | 05/06/12

      Hi Chuck,

      Yes I’ll agree with that in principle - loving discipline is sometimes necessary.  I also agree that the learning process starts with children, and looking at many children and their behaviour today makes me want to cry with despair.  As you say, living examples of how to behave are required, but presently under-represented.

      But within the context of administering discipline must be wisdom as to its timing and form.  Discpline must also be a vehicle for effective learning (in the context of your quote - to avoid the spoiled child).  It is not, of course, a euphemism for revenge or violence.

      On many occassions, greater learning will occur through overt and deliberate forgiveness and love than through physical discipline.

      Also - there were ways of disciplining this prisoner that did not involve injury.  I do not view this as a case of discipline, but a case of revenge.  I also do not believe that, through this experience, the prisoner will have learned any better behaviours.


    • jules says:

      10:30am | 05/06/12

      The guy who got bashed was the victim of an assault.  Thats what you don’t seem to get.  He may have been the sort of jerk that spits on people but then he got punched in the head 20 times.

      I’ve been spat on playing footy.  What would have happened if I’d stopped playing and beat the crap out of the person who did it?  No more footy and I’d probably get locked up.

      Oh and punching someone with Hep C in the mouth is stupid.  You increase the likelihood of getting the disease cos you’ll make their mouth bleed and possibly cut your knuckles as well.  Penbo, if that happened would it be the prisoners fault the guard got Hep C then?  Judging by your logic yes.

    • Peter#1 says:

      10:16am | 05/06/12

      I’m not sure if it’s a plethora of imbeciles or just one imbecile with multiple aliases posting some of these comments.
      David, I totally agree with you, the judiciary and the loony left, as displayed by the comments, have a lot to answer for.
      It has been reported that since this absurd judgement, prisoners are provoking the guards by spitting on them.
      I am not a big fan of Unions and even less of industrial action, however in this instance I would fully support the withdrawal of labour by the guards until the decision is reversed.

    • andye says:

      11:48am | 05/06/12

      Pater#1 -  “It has been reported that since this absurd judgement, prisoners are provoking the guards by spitting on them.”

      Where? Where is this reported?

    • Peter#2 says:

      12:09pm | 05/06/12

      Only imbecile I see here is you Peter.
      Don’t tell me, you dress to the right and wish it was 1955.

    • Peter#1 says:

      03:36pm | 05/06/12

      It was reported in a news telecast the other night. I can’t remember which channel.

      I apologise that I didn’t refer to you by name Peter#2, but consider that small error on my part rectified.
      In answer to your question, I normally let it hang to the left (when it’s not pointing North) and we could do worse than return to 1955.
      As I see it, the guard committed two offences.
      1.  He stopped at twenty punches and
      2.  He didn’t turn the bloody camera off.
      It is people such as you, as well as the judiciary, who are contributing to the social malaise that has befallen this country.

    • Rose says:

      07:22pm | 05/06/12

      “It is people such as you, as well as the judiciary, who are contributing to the social malaise that has befallen this country.”....Ah yes, because crime and violence are new, didn’t happen back in good ol’55.
      Looking at the past with rose coloured glasses is for fools, Peter1, I’m tipping that prisoners have been spitting on guards for generations, it’s easy, it’s effective and you can do it with your hands tied behind your back!
      As for the unions striking, for what purpose? To influence the judiciary? They would be far better served putting together and funding a case for appeal, the last thing we need is for Courts to be swayed by a mob, organized or otherwise, slippery slope and all that!!

    • Millsy says:

      10:38am | 05/06/12

      Right on Dave! In fact, there should be no reason why guards can’t use whatever force they feel is acceptable on a prisoner, I trust them not to abuse that priveledge. After all, when was the last time someone in a position of power abused their authority?

    • Blind Freddy says:

      10:41am | 05/06/12

      Did anything happen to the other guards - e.g. the one who pins the prisoners arms while the other punches him?

    • Joe says:

      10:45am | 05/06/12

      Cops, Prison Guards, Ambulance Officers, Fire Brigade Officers are not the publics punching bags.

    • Chris says:

      11:10am | 05/06/12

      Nor are prisoners punching bags for any of those people you have mentioned.


    • Mitch says:

      11:17am | 05/06/12

      You’re right, its the prisoners who are the punching bags.

    • jules (the fire brigade officer) says:

      11:18am | 05/06/12

      Look at the video - the only person who was a punching bag was the prisoner.

      You are confusing what actually happened with some figment of your imagination where the guard got bashed then locked up.

    • gordie says:

      07:24pm | 05/06/12

      Cris how do prisoners resolve their problems? With a game of   paper rock scissors..If you cant stand the heat in the kitchen dont get sent to the kitchen

    • Mitch says:

      10:49am | 05/06/12

      Wow, there sure are a whole bunch of police-state loving fascists posting on The Punch today. Funny how they always assume they’ll be on the right side of the law at all times.

    • St. Michael says:

      11:05am | 05/06/12

      Penbo, like every other convicted criminal he has an avenue for appeal if he chooses to take it up.  Stop drinking the union Kool-Aid.

      “The jailing of prison guard Terry Dolling is strange on several levels. It’s strange because he has a completely blemish-free record throughout a fairly long career in corrections. It’s strange because not even the Crown was seeking jail time in prosecuting Dolling but was happy for the charges to be dismissed under section 10.”

      By definition, every first offender has a blemish-free record before they’re convicted.  It doesn’t prevent a jail term being imposed.  Most paedophiles, for example, have blemish-free records and are often “upstanding members of the community” before someone finally speaks up about their behaviour.

      Suppose this had been a CCTV’ed scene of 20 punches thrown by a member of your favourite minority group, a bikie, one with no record, after a rival gang member spat in his face.  Would you similarly be demanding leniency there?

      I doubt it; more to the point, I doubt the Crown would have been looking the other way and agreeing to straight dismissal of the charges, either, as they tried to in this case.

      I’m sure you’re not saying there’s one rule for prison officers/police officers and another rule for the general public, are you?

      As for me, I am saying there is a distinction and rightly so.  Courts come down harder on thug cops or thug police officers than normal citizens simply because cops and prison officers hold legal power over ordinary citizens.  They’re meant to be the good guys.  They’re held to a high level of responsibility because of that.  The prison sentence is intended as a deterrent to all of Hosking’s mates not to play “catch-up”, as some of them do.  If you don’t like that level of responsibility and can’t control yourself, quit the job.

    • Monty says:

      11:14am | 05/06/12

      David, you wrote…

      “So the first thing Dolling should have done was to sit back and calmly wipe the Hep C-infected spit from his face, in the hope that someone would arrest Vos, that he would then be charged, the matter would proceed through the courts swiftly, and time would be added to his sentence. This suggests an extraordinarily high level of faith and patience, indeed a super-human level of faith patience, at the unlikely prospect of the cogs of justice ever kicking into gear.

      The second thing Dolling should have done was realise that he owes a duty of care to someone who is trying to assault and possibly infect him.”

      These things are exactly what Dolling is paid to do and expected to do as part of his job. If he can’t fufill this then he’s better off finding another job, perhaps one that doesn’t involve him having physical contact with people.

    • PaxUs says:

      11:18am | 05/06/12

      The judiciary have gone mad!  This guard is getting more jail time than many of the violent offenders he was guarding I’m sorry, but if you have Hep C and spit on someone, you deserve a good bashing.  Shame its not a law!

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      11:29am | 05/06/12

      Not that the prison guard was thinking rationally, but it would have been better for the prison guard to give the word to other inmates that anybody “dealing” with this inmate would be looked upon kindly. Let the other prisoners do the dirty work for you…....It is not as if prison fights don’t break out all the time…...

    • Luke says:

      12:00pm | 05/06/12

      “JOURNALIST” TELLS COURTS HE KNOWS BETTER THAN THEM ... would also have been a title for this peice.

    • Smashmellows says:

      12:07pm | 05/06/12

      Wierdest thing is that he did use his fists to hit the prisnoer.  Wasn’t there a good old batton at hand?
      And for all the armchair medicos out there relying on Google for their medical degrees - it is unlikely, but uncertain,  that Hep C is transmitted sexually.

    • sam says:

      12:07pm | 05/06/12

      I don’t think that Penbo is saying the guy should have got off scott free.  He is just asking why the mitigating circumstances don’t seem to have been taken into account by the judge in this case.  Perhaps the guard should have just argued that he was a drug addict brought up in an underprivileged home as that seems to be an acceptable excuse for most sorts of criminal behaviour.

    • BruceS says:

      12:15pm | 05/06/12

      Throw the idiot Atkinson in prison, for gross activism.

    • Bruno says:

      12:45pm | 05/06/12

      Opening up pandora’s box here Penbo, and she’s got a big box. A guy on the way to work today looked at me twice in a manner I did not like. Was that enough provocation? A guy I don’t know calls says f*ken wog in my earshot. Is that enough? Says it to me? What if he adds the word dirty to it. It’s a tough one. Like I said big hairy box.

    • Keyturner says:

      01:07pm | 05/06/12

      Honestly people, HE PLEAD GUILTY!  Mr Dolling never said he didn’t do anything wrong, infact he admitted his wrongdoing.  Ofcourse what he did was wrong, but for most people in society, understandable.

      Mr Dolling has over 20 years service with an unblemished record.  This should count for something.  To send him to gaol is ridiculous.  I love how many commenters above believe that once an Officer puts on their uniform they are no longer human. 
      We are all human and have human responses.  I’m sure that if you had to spend your days been sworn at, spat at, threatened and the like just to put food on the table for your family, you may see it from a different perspective.
      This sentence is crazy and hopefully will be thrown out in the appeals court.

      Just a pity the poor Dolling family have to live in limbo until that day hopefully comes.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      02:48pm | 05/06/12

      Lets just hope he doesn’t get beaten up by a thug prison guard while he is in there.

      A lot of prisoners have a sympathy inducing back story.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:13pm | 05/06/12

      Anyone who spits in your face deserves a flogging. Without question.

      A gutless wimp with no balls whatsoever would sit back and let someone else punish the perpetrator.

      Maybe some emasculated sooks can hug it out or Soften the F$#% Up over a latte together.

    • PhoenixGirl says:

      01:27pm | 05/06/12

      I think we need more information rather than just an emotional response Penbo.
      1. Do prison guards have equipment to cover spitters mouths?
      2. Did this prison guard follow procedure when dealing with this Hep C prisoner?
      3. Was this prison guard not worried about Hep C when he was smashing his fist into the prisoner?
      4. Could the prisoner have died from this beating?
      5. Should the prison guard not be held to a higher level of accountability considering the trust and power bestowed upon him?

      No one disputes that the prisoner is scum, hence the reason he is in prison in the first place. No one would dispute that the prisoner seems to have gotten off lightly in this case and should have received more time added to the end of his sentence. Technically though this is a completely different case and unrelated to the behaviour of the prison guard.

      Threatening industrial action and disrespecting the courts because one of their own did not receive favourable treatment makes for a very bad look for the prison guards, essentially it looks like they want to be treated above the law and allowed to do as they please without threat of punishment.

    • Uh oh. says:

      01:40pm | 05/06/12

      Just to get the balance on this, can someone tell me what extra charges were laid against the prisoner for spitting Hep C on the prison officer

    • Veronica says:

      09:43am | 06/06/12

      two months, built into his existing sentence, so NO EXTRA punishment, as I understand

    • Sneak Peak says:

      02:01pm | 05/06/12

      To make money as a warder, join the Masonic Lodge!
      To get respect as a prison guard, join the Masonic Lodge !

    • Vote 1 insist on spell checks with posts says:

      02:15pm | 05/06/12

      I think people who do not use spell checking before posting should be sentenced to a seven month ban from the Punch. Quality checks for grammar should also be used (no jail time for breeching their conditions, maybe just probation?).

      Is the Punch a court of public opinion or a jester’s court of raving loonies? In essence what the guard did was legally wrong, morally circumspect and ethically improper. Legal action was taken and the Prosecutors sought what they believed was appropriate punishment. Those actions should have been enough to appease the ‘anti the prison guard’s actions’ agitators on this blog. The issue gets more complex however, when the Judge decided to ‘up the ante’ as it were and imposed the seven month sentence (that surely will be appealed) as punishment. Hmm, if the guard stood up in the court and yelled abuse at the judge, then spat at her, should he be held accountable for those actions, as apparently a prisoner can do that and more and it does not count as mitigating factors when sentencing is carried through.

      This judge may be trying to send a message to people in authority but surely internal disciplinary procedures and a good behaviour bond from the court would have sufficed? Actually jailing the guard for responding to provocation is a harsh measure.

      As to our anonymous spitter, was he charged with assault (knowingly trying to infect someone with your own communicable disease is illegal is it not?) for spraying his Hep C directly at the guard? Otherwise we may as well issue scuba masks to the authorities when they are required to engage with infectious inmates.

    • Inestine says:

      02:37pm | 05/06/12

      eye kompletelly argree wif yu,seveen muffns ceems a bitt chort fore a speiiang arrrore

    • BVMKingmaker says:

      02:40pm | 05/06/12

      If this was a bouncer on the front door of a pub would there be the same sympathy? Or would the same action be called thuggish like David Penberthy calls all bouncers when the have to deal with this type of behaviour

    • BVMKingmaker says:

      02:40pm | 05/06/12

      If this was a bouncer on the front door of a pub would there be the same sympathy? Or would the same action be called thuggish like David Penberthy calls all bouncers when the have to deal with this type of behaviour

    • Martin says:

      03:27pm | 05/06/12

      Seems overly harsh for an officer with an unblemished record. By all means record the assault, dock his pay or reduce his rank and subject him to anger management training. But seriously, jail time ?!

      I’m assuming the inmate spitting on him wasn’t viewed as assault ?

    • lachlan says:

      04:13pm | 05/06/12

      Assault is assault, no matter who the person is that commits the offence. He might of had a clean record, he might have been pushed to the edge, however a principle of our judicial system is that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. If he was to get off, where do you start drawing the line. When do you start deciding what is a proportionate response to an assault. for example, If a mental health patient who is suffering in a state of psychosis spits on a guard, he has no control over his actions but the guard does. Is the guard then entitled to beat him?. Our law enforcement is supposed to be better than those who commit crimes, otherwise we justify their actions with state sponsored criminality. As an advanced country, we should be better than this.

    • Colin says:

      06:16pm | 05/06/12

      Pen earthy is a cretin.

      Legally, provocation is only available to a person who acts in the heat of the moment. This professional thug (all screws are professional thugs) had to get his keys and unlock a cell door. This was totally deliberate violence from a person with all the power.

      And why does this thug not have a criminal record? Think he hasn’t done this before?

      The answer lies in the behaviour of all the other professional thug screw who were right there at the time. Not one of them made the slightest attempt to stop the violent piece of scum from bashing a prisoner. One of them joined in. He should be in prison to.

      Why did no other officer intervene? Because what that video depicts is standard operating procedure. Screws are scum - and Pemberthy, I would spit in your face if I had the chance. I’d love to see how you would react. I’d love you to throw the first punch, you gutless cretin.

    • LEO of NSW says:

      09:40pm | 10/06/12

      And where did you serve your sentence ??

    • RJH says:

      06:22pm | 05/06/12

      I work for CS NSW but not in a custodial role.  I see what thugs some of the officers are. Certainly not all of them.  The officer had time to step back, open the cell, then enter, then (with the assistance of another officer) punch the person 20 times.  20 times. It was not an instant reaction to a repulsive act, it was a delayed action because he was angry. Officers are well paid and although their work is not enviable, it’s certainly not difficult in most correctional centres and the rate of workplace assault against prisoner officers is well below that of other professions including teachers and centrelink workers. Don’t worry too much, if he was to serve a custodial sentence, which is unlikely, he will be well looked after by other officers. Some officers are already prepared to supply drugs phones etc to inmates so imagine what they would be prepared to do for one of their own. So where does it stop, can teachers hit children 20 times if they spit on them (and they do), can a centrelink worker punch a client 20 time because they spit at them across the counter?? Violence is not OK. The union look, speak and act like thugs.

    • Shirley says:

      09:59am | 06/06/12

      I have been a correctional officer for over 20 years, most of the staff I have worked with are genuinely decent people. I am insulted that you would even write the above comment, given that your arse has probably been saved a few times by the people you are making judgement of in the above comments. It is no wonder that you are not in a custodial role, and i am picturing that you happily sit on a daily basis and have tea and biscuits with society’s worst. To suggest that officers are the only ones that bring in contraband is obscene, I can clearly remember more than one non-custodial person being caught for the same. We have a union for a good reason, just as you have a union you are free to join. I can say that I have been treated poorly in the past. I have been spat on, abused, pushed and have had to step in and break up many fights, even stabbings in order to carry out my “duty of care” to inmates. I am just lucky that I have walked away unscathed from these incidents and have learnt to deal with things mentally. But hey, we ARE all human and sometimes a person may have just HAD ENOUGH. I say to all of those passing judgement on the officer - THERE IS NO AUDIO in the video and I would be interested to know what was said, it is obvious something was said, as the inmate went back from the bars, grabbed a towel and then returned and can clearly be seen yelling something at the officer. I am not condoning what happened, sure there are other avenues, but I do not know of one case of common assault, where a first time offender has received a custodial sentence, especially when the prisoner admitted he was a tosser and did not want charges pressed against the officer.

    • Been there, seen that. says:

      07:16pm | 05/06/12

      Most posters here have no idea how our (as opposed to the TV) legal system works. They think if you ‘do a crime’, you go to gaol. (Sorry, ‘jail’). Look at the number of posters here who don’t even know the difference between a magistrate and a judge. Their opinions on this case are about as valuable as their ignorance of the system they live under.
      O, and Colin, you really seem to hate screws mate, what did they do to you?  Break up your boy-buggering operation?

    • gordie says:

      08:13pm | 05/06/12

      no I think Colin still is involved. I would like to meet you Colin bet you would not throw the first punch

    • Michael says:

      06:07am | 06/06/12

      I don’t have any strong opinion about this incident or the punishment the warder recieved but i do know that had this happened with the disabled or elderly( they can pinch .bite ,spit ,throw human waste etc) you Penbo would be first in line in the howls of outrage.

    • Joan Bennett says:

      02:03pm | 22/06/12

      iansand, I’d love to see your reaction if someone with hep c spat in your face.  It’s very easy to be high and mighty when you aren’t in the situation.  Like childless people criticising parents for what they do with their children.

    • oscifecemig says:

      06:32am | 12/01/13

      Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this internet site needs much more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to read far more, thanks for that info.

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