Accused cop stabber wins bail
A paranoid man who allegedly stabbed a young police officer in the neck with a makeshift spear in Sydney's southwest says he feared for his life from a home invader who "ran into the knife".
Police say Rory Constantino slashed Constable Jacob Vella across the throat - missing a major artery by just 1mm - when officers came to arrest his dad at their family home last year.
The 27-year-old wiped tears from his eyes as he was granted $10,000 bail while appearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday via video link from Bathurst jail.
The court heard Constantino said he had been suffering paranoia, and called himself an "idiot" for defending himself and his cancer-suffering dad against a stranger who'd kicked down his front door on June 11.
Constantino told police two men who had "the essence of thugs" came to his Sadleir home around 6am and Const Vella chased him into his bedroom after kicking the front door off its hinges.
"This guy looked like he was there for trouble. And he's f...ing pushing his way in," the court heard Constantino said in a police interview
"It scared the shit out of me."
The plainclothes officers were trying to arrest Constantino's father Rick on outstanding firearm offences, and Constantino said Const Vella's hoodie-wearing partner flashed him a badge which he thought looked "dodgy".
Constable Grant Koschel would soon take his hoodie off to give first aid to his partner.
Const Vella needed major surgery after Constantino allegedly screamed and lunged at him with a steel shaft strapped to the end of a broomstick at the Heckenberg Ave house.
Seconds after the 24-year-old officer, a keen bodybuilder, stumbled out of the house and collapsed near the road, Constantino's dad bashed Constable Grant Koschel with a baseball bat, police allege.
But Constantino's lawyer claims the 59-year-old leukaemia sufferer had been asleep in another room when his son, who "was in fear of his life", grabbed the crude homemade weapon that he was "almost surprised" to find in his bedroom.
"He was getting kneed in the head and bashed … he only realised they were police officers when he ran outside," defence barrister Greg James QC said.
"He asserts that Constable Vella ran into the knife."
Constantino, who has no criminal record, claims he got down on his knees with his hands behind his head once back-up was called and uniformed police arrived, Mr James said.
He says police lied when accusing him of struggling with officers and kicking them while handcuffed then punching one at the station when he freed one hand from his cuffs as he got out of the paddy wagon.
Once Constantino's grandfather stumped up cash for bail, Justice Peter Hamill ordered him to live at another Sadleir home away from his already bailed father. He must also abide by a night curfew while he works at ALDI Lakemba.
Constantino offered to report three times a week to Bankstown police station "to avoid further conflict" with officers from the Liverpool command, and the judge told him to "stay out of trouble."
"One hundred per cent guaranteed your Honour," Constantino said, as his family and friends cried in court.
The Constantinos are charged with a string of offences, including assaulting officers in the execution of their duties, and are next due to face Campbelltown Local Court in April.
The extremely serious charges come after Constantino's 17-year-old brother Blake Feeney was killed on Good Friday 2018 when the Uber he was sharing with friends and a car collided at Woodbine.