Canberra Man Acquitted After Molotov Cocktail Attack That Burnt Police Officer


A Canberra man who set fire to a police officer’s leg with a Molotov cocktail has been acquitted of criminal charges because of mental impairment.

The police officer suffered second and third degree burns to his right leg, between his ankle and knee, as a result of the incident at Brindabella Business Park in September last year.

A Canberra judge found David Percival Burnett, 44, not guilty of a number of offences, by way of mental impairment, and ordered he submit himself to the jurisdiction of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal so it could make a mental health order.

Last September, the man armed himself with three Molotov cocktails, two knives, a tomahawk, and a pick handle, and drove to Majura, where he crashed his ute into metal bollards in front of one of the business park’s buildings.

When police arrived, he urged them to shoot him. During the stand-off, petrol from one of the Molotov cocktails spilled and caused an officer’s leg to be engulfed in flames, leaving him with serious burns.

“When police arrived on scene, the man walked towards them igniting the molotov cocktail and throwing it at one of the officers covering his right leg in flames. The police officer ran to a grass area and was assisted by the public to extinguish the flames,” police said.

Mr Burnett then dropped a second petrol bomb, which narrowly missed a sergeant, before he was stopped with a stun gun.

Two aviation police officers from the nearby airport were first on the scene, and one of those officers was injured. He was taken to hospital with serious burns. ACT Policing officers arrived a short time after the injury.

In a police interview soon after, Mr Burnett told police he wanted to be shot, and took the weapons to present “a credible threat”.

The judge returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of mental impairment to all charges.

Source: Canberra Times.

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