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Man who assaulted police after headbutting elderly man in unprovoked attack to appeal jail term

The district judge told him: 'I have dealt with you on a number of occasions. You have been given numerous chances to wise up and settle down'


A man who assaulted police after headbutting an elderly man has been sentenced to nine months in prison.

The district judge stated that he and the 26-year-old were “no strangers” with the defendant being “given numerous chances to wise up and settle down”.

Stephen Ian Williamson, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault on police, disorderly behaviour and two counts of common assault at Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting at Newry, on Thursday.

District Judge Eamonn King stated: “This was a deferred sentencing by one of my colleagues, he noted on that occasion that it was to afford you the chance to stay out of trouble.

“If you were able to do this you were to be dealt with by way of a non-custodial sentence.”

Williamson appeared in the dock on remand in custody charged with offences including occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage which are alleged to have occurred on July 7.

It was heard that on August 12, of last year, police were called to reports of two males fighting in Newry Street, Banbridge.

A male in a blue tracksuit was alleged to have been seen striking an elderly man.

Officers arrived to find traffic at a standstill and they were approached by a male claiming to be an injured party.

He said he had been headbutted in an unprovoked attack and that the aggressor was in a stationary taxi in front of the police car.

Upon approaching, the male told police to “f*** off”; officers removed him from the taxi and he identified himself as the defendant.

Police noted that Williamson appeared under the influence and he was subsequently handcuffed.

He then began to spit at and bite officers and this continued despite him being warned.

As police tried to place him in their vehicle, Williamson kicked out striking one officer to the right knee twice and then to the chest.

Officers then placed limb restraints on the defendant, who began banging his head on the car door.

Williamson turned to spit at one officer before banging his head on the car again saying: “Youse are beating me.”

The defendant was subsequently arrested. During interview he stated that he had drunk a lot of alcohol and could not remember even leaving his own home.

He also said that he did have an alcohol problem which he had previously received treatment for.

Defence barrister Justin Byrne commented: “In the active matter he claims he, in fact, was attacked by another male.”

He stated: “Mr Williamson has been in the youth court since 2009, now 10 years later he is here. He had a significant facial injury when he was very young which led to him being bullied.

“He developed a dependency on drugs and alcohol. When he is sober he is a pleasant young man, he has two young children and before being in custody had them every weekend.”

Mr Byrne continued: “He was sentenced to community service in June for an incident in November. He completed one hour of this before being taken into custody.

“In November he attended Sister Consilio’s. After leaving he stayed out of trouble for all of 2019 other than the matter that has not been determined.”

Mr Byrne stated that Williamson had “taken significant steps this year” and asked for sentencing to be deferred once more.

District Judge King said: “Mr Williamson, you and I are no strangers. Mr Byrne identified that I have dealt with you on a number of occasions. You have been given numerous chances to wise up and settle down.

“Your very last entry was on June 13, for offences of a similar nature in breach of a suspended sentence and I imposed community service.”

He added: “The reason I did that, no doubt, is that Mr Byrne claimed you had changed and had taken the steps to change your behaviour.”

Williamson was sentenced to four months in prison for the offences before the court.

District Judge King also invoked five months of a suspended sentence which he ordered to run concurrently, making a total of nine months.

Mr Byrne applied for bail to appeal this. The defendant was released on his own bail of £500 but remained in custody on remand for the pending matters.

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