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Suspended jail term for man who knocked woman to ground then spat in her face

He claimed to have been drinking from the night before having consumed five litres of cider

Armagh Courthouse

A man who spat in a woman’s face after knocking her to the ground has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

The district judge warned the 37-year-old: “If you appear in the near future for offences including the abuse of defenceless women, the court will have no hesitation in imposing a custodial sentence.”

Christopher Cherry, of Tullyroan Road, Dungannon, pleaded guilty to common assault at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on August 8, police were called to a domestic incident. They first spoke to the defendant who said that there had been an altercation between himself and his partner.

Officers then spoke with the injured party. She stated that Cherry had lost his temper. It was noted that there was damage to jointly owned property.

She told police the defendant had knocked her to the ground before spitting in her face.

Cherry was arrested and taken to Lurgan Custody Suite. During interview he said he had fallen and had refused to leave the property after being asked to do so by the injured party.

He claimed to have been drinking from the night before having consumed five litres of cider.

The defendant accepted that he had deliberately spat in the face of the injured party.

Court heard that a custodial sentence which Cherry had received for a similar offence on the same injured party had been suspended through an appeal.

Defence counsel stated: “This was a very unsavoury incident, not one bit pleasant. Thankfully there was no one injured but that does not take away from this behaviour.

“Mr Cherry is not pleased with his actions. He had consumed some amount of alcohol and accepted responsibility for his actions when questioned by police”.

He continued: “He exhibited some reprehensible behaviour towards this injured party. They were never in a relationship per se, they were neighbours who spent a considerable amount of time together.”

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “This was appalling conduct, within the context of other appearances in other courts for offences of a similar nature on the same complainant.

“I am warning you if you appear in the near future for offences including the abuse of defenceless women, the court will have no hesitation in imposing a custodial sentence.”

Cherry was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for two years.

In addition, he was ordered to pay compensation in the form of £750 to the injured party within 12 weeks.

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