No justice for paramedics

Two teenagers who bashed three paramedics in 2009 are still on the run nearly a year after failing to appear in Wollongong Local Court.Max Goodchild and Stacey Baldo were found guilty of a sickening attack on the paramedics who were treating a patient at Primbee on August 2, 2009.Arrest warrants were issued for the couple, both 18 at the time, after they failed to show at a June 18 court appearance last year to give evidence. Their conviction would have almost certainly led to a stint in prison.Ambulance Service of NSW district inspector Norm Rees is disappointed the pair have not been apprehended."They're still out there nearly a year after it happened," Mr Rees said. "Unfortunately, they're not the first ones to have attacked our people and they won't be the last."One of the paramedics, Geordie King, was repeatedly punched in the chest and face by the pair, who also threatened to kill him.Tough new laws introduced in response to the attack on Mr King have done nothing to reduce the number of attacks on paramedics, Mr Rees said.Of the 99 assaults recorded against paramedics across NSW over the past nine months, 21 were in the Illawarra.On January 7, youths using a laser blinded a male paramedic who was transporting a patient to Shellharbour Hospital."The kids thought it was funny; our guy was blinded for three weeks," Mr Rees said."He and his family went through great stress wondering if it would be permanent."In the same week, a woman threw a drink in the face of a female paramedic and punched her before being restrained, while another female paramedic was threatened in a further incident.In 2008-09, there were 120 assaults on paramedics across the state. In 2009-10, there were 116.Ninety-nine assaults have been recorded so far this financial year."We've got new laws that attract up to five years' prison, but they've done nothing," Mr Rees said.Goodchild and Baldo were not picked up in a statewide blitz in March, where police tracked down and arrested 793 people wanted on outstanding warrants or in breach of bail. NSW Police did not comment yesterday.

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