An Armagh man who spat in the face of an officer after being found in possession of a blade has been handed 100 hours of community service.
Court heard the 27-year-old had suffered from a relapse with regards to alcohol at the time and had since engaged in a 12 week rehabilitation program at Cuan Mhuire in Newry.
Stefan Corey McMullan, of Culdee Terrace, pleaded guilty to assault on police, two counts of criminal damage and possession of a bladed article in a public place at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Sentencing in the case had been adjourned for the defendant to engage with alcohol rehabilitation and to stay out of trouble.
It was heard that on April 12, at 9.45pm, police received a report from a staff member of a restaurant on Thomas Street, Armagh.
They were concerned as they had spotted a male brandishing a knife on the street outside.
Officers arrived to find the defendant and upon a search being conducted a blade was located in the pocket of his hooded top.
McMullan was subsequently arrested. Whilst en route to Dungannon Custody Suite he became disorderly and spat in the face of an officer from a distance of less than two feet away.
Once at the station, the defendant was placed in a cell to calm down.
McMullan was offered food which he tipped onto the floor.
He was subsequently taken to a second cell which he also damaged.
When cautioned for these offences the defendant stated: “I didn’t damage nothing.”
During an interview conducted the next day, McMullan accepted that he had a blade with him.
He said he been drinking since lunchtime. Having consumed 10 pints of Carlsberg he had then gone home where he had drank a bottle of Buckfast.
McMullan said he had gone back into town but forgotten he had the knife in his pocket but could not explain why he had brandished it.
The defendant claimed he could not remember spitting at the officer but believed their account.
He told police the damage caused to the first cell was a mistake and the second had been because he had not been allowed a cigarette.
Defence barrister Patrick Taylor stated: “This is a very unimpressive set of facts coupled with an horrific record. This all happened in the background of an alcohol relapse.
“Mr McMullan has a difficult background which includes addiction problems with drugs from his teens including heroin.”
He continued: “Mr McMullan is a man who has sought help himself for this. He engaged in a 12 week programme at Cuan Mhuire. He was released on Friday and has engaged with AA.
“This has been of further importance as his girlfriend is expecting their first child.”
District Judge Rosie Watters stated: “You are very fortunate that the judge that was sitting gave you the opportunity to complete your stay with Cuan Mhuire.
“The facts are terrible, your record is terrible and everyone in court has heard that.”
McMullan was sentenced to an enhanced combination order consisting of two years probation and 100 hours of community service.