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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Road ragers hit on plainclothed policeman

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A father and son appeared in Byron Bay court last Friday on charges stemming from a road-rage incident in Brunswick Heads.

Tony Nelson and his father Clarence Nelson were driving into Brunswick when a four-wheel-drive came up behind them and tooted his horn, as the Nelsons were driving slowly in search of a particular address.

Tony Nelson, who was a passenger in the vehicle, thrust his hand through the window and flipped his middle finger at the driver of the 4×4 and both cars pulled over.

What Tony Nelson didn’t know was that the driver of the other vehicle was local police officer Detective Sergeant Labeeb Saad.

A scuffle ensued and Detective Saad placed Mr Nelson Junior under arrest. Mr Nelson Senior, who admitted to the court that he was hard of hearing, joined in the melee and Detective Saad called for assistance from onlookers.

As the police vehicle was unmarked and Saad was not in a police uniform, Mr Nelson alleges that he felt threatened by the approach of the other driver in what he thought was an act of road rage.

Detective Saad told the court that he did say he was from the police but the situation escalated at such speed that he did not have the chance to fully identify himself.

As a result of the incident, Detective Saad received a black eye, cuts and bruises and an injury to his mouth requiring three stitches. Tony Nelson was charged with offensive language and both of the Nelsons were charged with resisting arrest and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Several complications arose during the hearing as Tony Nelson claims he did not understand that Det Saad was a police officer and Mr Nelson senior’s hearing impairment hampered his grasp of the situation.

The timing of both the Nelsons’ understanding and acknowledgment of Det Saad’s occupation was one of the main questions in the case and magistrate Michael Dakin retired to his chambers to look further look into the evidence given on the stand by the Nelsons and Detective Saad.

More witnesses took the stand during the afternoon.

During proceedings the charge of assault was withdrawn against Clarence Nelson and Mr Dakin ruled that he be given a bond of good behaviour for two years.

The case involving Tony Nelson was adjourned until November 23.

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  1. Police should be identifiable at ALL times,How did they know ( the Nelson’s) that they were not about to be bashed?? When the dust has settled ,the detective will see this for what it was!

  2. If someone was to toot me, pull over when I did and get out of his car I would feel threatened too. He should have driven straight past, did he forget he didn’t have a uniform on? Wonder what the result would have been if he wasn’t a police officer?

  3. That is really rough!
    How can an unmarked car and unmarked cop still stand behind the badge like this?
    Under the same circumstances I would also assume I was being harassed by a civilian who was probably a threat to my personal safety.
    Why should a cop get special treatment like this? The fact was he was a nobody until he clearly identified himself as a police officer and showed them his badge.

    There are so many nut-jobs out on the road who do such harassing things to people in unfamiliar territory looking for street signs and going slowly…. this cop seems to be no different.


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