Lockdown rioter 'threw bottle at cop'

·2-min read

A Victorian anti-lockdown protester who lined up a police officer and threw a glass bottle full pelt at the man's head has lost his job but now wants to turn his life around, a court has been told.

Ulric Wharerau, 52, on Friday faced Melbourne Magistrates Court and was granted bail after being charged with 20 offences including assaulting police, discharging a missile and recklessly causing serious injury.

The Elwood man threw a glass bottle into the face of an officer from about one to two metres away during an anti-lockdown protest at Richmond's Burnley Street on September 18.

Another officer was hit in the jaw as the bottle ricocheted off the side of the first man's right eye socket.

"It was a hard baseball-style throw," Wharereau told police after his arrest on Thursday.

"It was as hard as I could. I aimed to hit the person who pepper-sprayed me in the upper chest or head.

"There was no stopping from there."

Wharerau, recently fired from his bus driving job for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccination, then threw rocks at a third officer and charged into a fourth, the court heard.

Senior Constable Sean Armstrong opposed the 52-year-old man's bail application, arguing he had demonstrated a propensity to seriously injure police officers.

"He has a blatant disregard for the law, is likely to attend more protests, and poses a risk of future deliberate attacks," Sen Const Armstrong told the court.

"That won't be the last protest - there will be more."

Wharerau's lawyer, Katie Powell, said there was no indication her client, a father-of-four, had attended any further protests after the September 18 incident.

"They were clearly not peaceful and he has instructed he has no wish to be again involved in any such protest," Ms Powell said.

"He is aware of the impact they have on the community as well as himself and his family.

"He recognises he's at a turning point and he needs to ensure his behaviour doesn't jeopardise his liberty."

Ms Powell argued that Wharerau, previously his family's breadwinner, should be granted bail with strict conditions.

Magistrate Susan Wakeling granted him bail later on Friday.

She said he did not have an organising role in the September 18 protest, did not attend any further riots, and had been "chastened" by his arrest and employment termination.

Ms Wakeling added that nearly 20 years had passed since his last offence and that he could face an extended time in custody before the completion of a trial if his charges were contested.

But she warned Wharerau that there was a strong prosecution case against him with a prison sentence likely to follow.

"Violence against the police is not to be tolerated," Ms Wakeling said.

Wharerau is expected to face court on February 11.

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