Man who struck police horse and threw traffic bollard at officer during Melbourne lockdown protests pleas guilty

Antonio G Ginting

A former prospective Hells Angels member who struck a police horse with a flag pole and hurled a traffic bollard at a mounted officer during Melbourne’s infamous lockdown protests has implored a judge to show him mercy, as prosecutors denounced his “cowardly” crimes.

Dennis Basic appeared in the County Court of Victoria where he pleaded guilty to several violent charges including assaulting an emergency worker, recklessly causing injury, animal cruelty and possessing a “cache” of weapons including knives and fireworks.

The charges date back to two incidents which happened while Melbourne was under a strict lockdown imposed by the Andrews government to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

Basic, who was once a prospective member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, appeared from the Metropolitan Remand Center where he has been on remand for close to year.

In October 2020, Basic marched to the Shrine of Remembrance with thousands of other protesters before making his way to a roadblock on St Kilda Road, near the Arts Centre, where he confronted Senior Constable Jamie Brown.

Dennis Basic during a protest in Melbourne.(Supplied: County Court of Victoria)

The court was shown footage of Basic, who was in a balaclava, yelling obscenities at the police officer and waving a pole with a flag in a “threatening manner”, according to prosecutors.

He then confronted another officer, Leading Senior Constable Jess Walsh, who was on a horse, and struck the animal on the head multiple times.

Bodycam footage played to the court showed the horse’s head rearing backwards as it was struck multiple times.

Basic was arrested weeks later at his home in Narre Warren South, where police found fireworks, flick knives and capsicum spray.

He was granted bail and ordered not to breach lockdown rules again as his case made its way through the justice system.

But in July 2021, just four days after Premier Daniel Andrews announced that lockdown would be extended, Basic again marched into Melbourne’s CBD with thousands of other protesters.

“Within eight months he’s back at another demonstration making a pest of himself,” Judge Douglas Trapnell said to Basic’s barrister, Oliver Smith.

“Yes, your honour, Mr Basic makes no excuses,” Mr Smith said.

Officer suffered months-long headache after second incident

Security footage obtained by investigators shows Basic picking up an orange traffic bollard with a weighted base and hurling it at Senior Constable Christine Brown, who was on horseback, striking her head and shoulder.

“I felt angry and concerned for the safety of myself, my horse Unity, and my colleagues,” she said in a victim impact statement read to the court on Tuesday.

“Unity got a fright which caused her anxiety. I know this because she became nervous after the incident. She felt light under saddle and I was concerned that she might shy, rear or kick out.”

A man wearing a scarf.
Dennis Basic during a protest in Melbourne.(Supplied: County Court of Victoria)

The court heard that Senior Constable Brown developed a headache which lasted for two months.

“I did not take any time off work. We were extremely busy and I didn’t want to let my team down,” she said.

Senior Constable Brown has since made a full recovery but said the attack still annoyed her.

“I feel it is important that the accused understands how dangerous his actions were,” she said.

Prosecutor Michelle Zammit said Basic’s actions were “unwarranted, disrespectful and appalling”.

“The accused was not in any way being provoked by police. He wasn’t being chased or being arrested at the time,” she said.

“His actions on both occasions were deliberate and completely inexcusable.

“The offending against Leading Senior Constable Brown … was particularly cowardly and reprehensible given that the bollard was thrown at her back.”

Court hears Basic ’embarrassed’ by his conduct

Mr Smith, who is defending Basic, told the County Court that his client had extended his apologies to the officer.

“He accepts that the victim was simply going about her job, he’s embarrassed by his conduct,” Mr Smith said.

Judge Trapnell asked if that meant “protecting the community from him and others like him”.

“Yes, your honour,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith told the court that Basic’s crimes did not indicate a “persistent lawlessness”.

But Judge Trapnell said it showed a “continuous pattern of disobedience”.

“This is the very conduct that needs to be denounced … and his case specifically deterred, given having done it on one occasion, he went back and did it again,” the judge said.

Basic will be sentenced later this month.

Posted , updated

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