Constable Peter McAulay with girlfriend Laura at Ipswich Courthouse.
Constable Peter McAulay with girlfriend Laura at Ipswich Courthouse. Cordell Richardson

More than 10,000 people demand 'justice' for police officer

PEOPLE have rushed to sign a petition agitating for "justice" for police officer Peter McAulay, whose life was forever changed when he was struck by a stolen car driven by a teenager.

More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition, calling for a harsher sentence for the 17-year-old who ran down Constable McAulay in September last year.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will serve just 18 months in a youth detention centre.

The petition, which was set up by Leonie Smith just four days ago, has 10,282 signatures as of Tuesday morning and is directed to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC sentenced the youth, who was 16 at the time, to three years in custody and ordered that he serve half of that time - 18 months.

The Judge and Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis accepted he did not deliberately hit the police officer, who was mowed down after the teenager swerved to avoid stingers laid on the road.

In submission on penalty before Ipswich District Court, Mr Wallis had sought a five year detention order - with the teenager to serve 70% of this in custody. 

The court heard it was a miracle Const McAulay survived and he suffered severe injuries that will leave him with permanent disability.

Const McAulay said the 18 month sentence was disappointing and Queensland Police Union boss Ian Leavers slammed the decision, saying the Youth Justice system was "broken."

"It shows the courts are well and truly out of touch, and accepting this criminal behaviour of juveniles who are putting the lives of everyone at risk," Mr Leavers said.

"Now a green light that you can almost murder a police officer and get 18 months.

"It is unacceptable. I cannot fathom what occurred."

A spokesperson for Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath responded to questions as to whether the sentence would be appealed.

"The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions routinely reviewed all sentences once matters were finalised and had up to a month to determine whether any appeal of a matter had a reasonable chance of succeeding, and advise the Attorney-General accordingly," the spokesperson said.

To sign the petition visit here.