Grievous bodily harm at sea – resourcefulness of regional emergency services

Normanton was put on the map over the weekend following an alleged grievous bodily harm incident on board a prawn trawler around 200 nautical miles off the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Responding to a Triple Zero (000) call from the vessel’s skipper who had just set out on an almost month-long voyage with a full crew, Police immediately coordinated an urgent response.

The tasking was led by Constable Sam Marrinan, in his second year of service and currently relieving at Karumba station from his usual station at Normanton.

“I had a phone call come in from Police Communications just after 9pm alerting me to the job and it certainly wasn’t something I’d been exposed to before, but I immediately went into response mode, gathering resources.” Constable Marrinan said.

The Karumba Volunteer Marine Rescue assisted, transporting Constable Marrinan and Senior Constable Grodzicke, an investigator, and a paramedic for the near three-hour trip to the trawler.

“The VMR skill and expertise behind the helm ensured our safe navigation to the trawler, and the tethering of the two moving vessels.

“On climbing aboard, the height difference between the two vessels meant we had to synchronise boarding with the highest point of the swell.

Once aboard, police arrested a 27-year-old Paramatta Park man, who had been restrained by his crew mates, while the paramedic treated a 27-year-old Western Australian man who had sustained a very deep laceration to the arm, resulting in several nerves and tendons being cut along with significant bleeding.

The crew had performed lifesaving first aid in stemming the bleeding and keeping the patient calm ahead of the arrival of the emergency response.

Plain Clothes Senior Constable Grodzicke made use of the time aboard taking witness statements and securing evidence, including a knife allegedly used.

“Once we had completed our duties and the patient was stabilised, we returned to the VMR vessel. The injured man was laid down in the cabin and the alleged offender was placed at the rear of the boat around 6 metres away for the near 3 hour return trip back- with a much smaller swell and winds having died down.

Upon arrival back at the Karumba boat ramp, the patient was transported to Normanton Hospital, and the Parramatta Park man taken to Normanton station, with detectives charging him with one count of grievous bodily harm early next morning.

Asked if he’d ever experienced a case similar, the Sunshine Coast raised 26-year-old’s answer was a resounding no, ‘But if I had another, I’d be well prepared, and that’s thanks to the many hands who made this light work so to speak,’ Constable Marrinan said.

“I finish my rotation in the region at the end of the year and look forward to seeing what opportunities come my way, I do really enjoy the challenges and responsibilities regional policing brings.”

Normanton Officer-In-Charge Senior Sergeant Dave Perry commended the work of Constables Grodzicke and Marrinan.

“They’ve shown ingenuity and resourcefulness beyond their years and as their OIC-and just as a police man- I’m very proud of their efforts toward enhancing community safety…wherever they’re called to,” he said.

“I would also like to praise the actions of the attending paramedic who operated under extreme conditions to ensure the patient’s welfare. Without them, the situation could have been dire.

“And without the expert oversight of the VMR the successful response would not have been possible. Living and working in such isolated parts of our great state can be equally rewarding and challenging, ultimately our togetherness and unity strengthens every part of community life,” he said.

A man in police custody.

/Public Release. View in full here.