A MAN who attacked two paramedics, including a woman, as they tried to help him has narrowly avoided jail for the "terrifying" incident.
The Wodonga Magistrates Court heard Border man Orion Jesse Harding, 26, was snapping in and out of reality during the alcohol-fuelled incident at Wahgunyah last year.
Two NSW paramedics had been called to Granthams Bend on November 17.
He started trying to punch one paramedic as they tried to treat him and then attacked the other.
The pair were forced to flee but Harding continued to target them before jumping into the nearby river.
The community is in my view appalled and disgusted at this behaviourMagistrate Ian Watkins
While he claimed to have been intoxicated to the point he couldn't remember the incident, magistrate Ian Watkins noted that he was lucid enough to tell police he wasn't getting out of the water as he had arrest warrants.
He was eventually arrested in NSW and sent to jail for parole breaches.
Mr Watkins said the matter "made for chilling reading".
"In my view that is extremely serious offending," he said.
The magistrate said Harding had a "catch me if you can" attitude to being arrested and by refusing to come out of the river.
"Every member of the community is entitled to feel safe when they go to work," he said.
"That particularly applies to emergency workers.
"The community is in my view appalled and disgusted at this behaviour."
Victim impact statements were tendered from both paramedics.
IN OTHER NEWS:
While the court heard of Harding's tough upbringing, described by Mr Watkins as "a childhood that no-one should have to endure", one of the paramedics also had a troubled childhood.
Mr Watkins said many members of the public would think the offending deserved a stint behind bars, but noted sentencing Harding was a balancing act.
"You've served a lot of your life in institutions in one form or another," he said.
"I am of the view it's in your interest and indeed the community's interest that I not send you back to prison today."
Mr Watkins said it would be beneficial for the 26-year-old to continue with rehabilitation while being closely monitored for the next two years.
He ordered Harding perform 300 hours of community work on a corrections order and fined him $500.
Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here