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Man accused of attempting to bite and headbutt police officers refused bail

Court heard the accused - who has 71 previous convictions - was arrested after breaching bail and now faces two fresh charges of assault on police

A Donaghcloney man who is accused of attempting to bite and headbutt police officers after being found intoxicated in breach of his bail has been remanded in custody.

The 31-year-old’s barrister told court: “His behaviour with police is something else. I am not sure Mr Morton was fully aware of what was going on until he was in the police vehicle.”

Jason Morton, of William Street, appeared on foot of a breach of bail at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, via videolink from police custody.

As a result of this breach, the defendant was connected by a constable to two fresh charges of assault on police.

It was heard that Morton had previously been granted bail on charges of burglary with intent to cause unlawful damage, two counts of common assault, criminal damage, attempted criminal damage and threats to kill by the High Court.

Defence barrister Damien Halloran informed the court that the breach was accepted and that an application for bail, which was opposed, was being made on the defendant’s behalf.

Outlining the breach and the alleged new offences, the constable stated that on August 11 police on mobile patrol received a report of an intoxicated male at an address in Donaghcloney.

Officers arrived to find Morton lying on a bed at the property they noted that his speech was slurred, he smelled of intoxicating liquor and had a cut above his right eye.

Police knew that the defendant was on court bail with conditions not to consume alcohol and proceeded to arrest him.

Once placed in the rear of the police car, it is alleged that Morton became aggressive telling one officer: “I will punch the head off you.”

The defendant is alleged to have continually tried to punch and headbutt officers. He is also accused of attempting to bite one officer whilst being removed from the vehicle.

After informing the court that Morton has 71 previous convictions, the constable stated that bail was being objected to due to fear of further offences or breaches of bail.

Mr Halloran submitted: “This was always going to be a hard application because of his record. He was released on High Court bail a week ago to go back to Donaghcloney.

“Mr Morton is a long-standing alcoholic, the court accepts that, and so too does he accept that. He had previously engaged with Community Addictions and his solicitors had instructed him to do so again by getting in contact with his GP.”

He continued: “He was granted bail as he had served much time on remand for the index offences and it was not known when it would be in a position to be dealt with.

“He instructs that he began drinking because his grandmother, whom he would be close with, is terminally ill and during the time which he had spent in custody she had deteriorated.”

Mr Halloran added: “His behaviour with police is something else. I am not sure Mr Morton was fully aware of what was going on until he was in the police vehicle. I ask that he is given one further chance.”

District Judge Rosie Watters stated: “I am going to refuse bail. He can go back to the High Court but I am not sure they will be impressed by his behaviour and the way he showed his gratitude for being granted it in the first place.”

The index offences were adjourned to Banbridge Magistrates’ sitting on September 3, with the new matters being taken to September 4, remaining in Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.

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