A teenager who allegedly rammed into a police car and broke an officer’s leg said he couldn’t see anything through the cloud of pot smoke in his car.
Benjamin Saurini, 19, from Melbourne, wasn’t licensed to drive when police officers approached him on Friday night (July 5).
The teenager allegedly drove off after panicking officers were going to ‘jump’ him, and said he accidentally side-swiped their car in his rush to drive away.
As reported by 9News, Saurini is accused of breaking a senior constable’s leg after allegedly pinning him against a car. The officer underwent surgery on Monday (July 8) for his broken leg.
The 19-year-old found out about the officer’s injuries the following day when he read a news article about the incident, after which he allegedly dumped the car he was driving and removed its number plates.
However, Saurini handed himself in after investigators called his parents, saying he was unable to see the police car at the time of the crash because his windows were so fogged up from smoking cannabis after a session with friends.
The teenager was granted bail on Tuesday (July 9) after Magistrate John Bentley adjourned the matter at the beginning of the week so Saurini could undergo a youth assessment.
He was permitted to go home to live with his parents in Sunbury but has to abide by the ‘strict conditions’ of his bail, including reporting to police every Wednesday. He also must not associate with any potential co-accused, drive a car, or consume drugs of dependence.
Furthermore, the 19-year-old must live with his parents, be home by 8pm each day, and liaise with youth justice workers continually.
In court, Saurini’s father John gave evidence, saying he realised his son was using drugs approximately three years ago. However, he said he only realised he had a problem eight months ago.
The court was told the 19-year-old was suitable for a programme where he would be supervised at least once a week and undergo drug education and treatment – particularly for ‘ice,’ or Crystal Meth.
The teen is charged with 14 offences in total, including ramming an emergency vehicle, assaulting a police officer, conduct endangering life, and unlicensed driving.
Saurini is due back in court on September 19 for a special mention to ensure he’s following his bail conditions, before returning for a contest mention on September 26.
It will then be determined whether the matter can be settled by the police withdrawing the charges in dispute, or by the defendant agreeing to a guilty plea.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).