A Lurgan man who was driving dangerously threatened and bit members of the public when they tried to prevent him driving further, a court has heard.
The case of Ian Reginald Collen, of Queens Place, was heard at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse.
The 38-year-old appeared in court charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, failing to provide a specimen, possession of a Class C drug, common assault, using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition and driving without due care and attention.
The court heard that on June 2 last year, police were tasked to Cargans Road in Tandragee following a report of a vehicle driving erratically.
On arrival, police carried out a preliminary breath test on the defendant, which returned a negative result. However, they noted that his speech was slurred and his pupils were dilated.
Police viewed dashcam footage provided by the reporting person, which showed the defendant driving in a dangerous manner.
After speaking to eyewitnesses, police were made aware that the defendant had removed a wooden stick and a tyre iron from his boot, and used them to threaten the reporting person.
Another member of the public at the scene was bitten by the defendant on his calf through his jeans.
District Judge Anne Marshall noted that the defendant had sprayed de-icer on the reporting person and struck him to his abdomen.
A defence solicitor conceded to the court that the charges were “unsavoury”, but explained that Collen had no criminal record and was “mortified” by the charges, having a “limited recollection” of the incident.
He explained that the defendant is taking proactive steps to address a drug problem which was the root of these offences, having referred himself through his GP to drug addiction services.
He added that the defendant was not aware of the defective nature of the car but had entered a guilty plea at the first opportunity.
District Judge Marshall said that it was a “serious case”.
She said: “These were two members of the public who came across the defendant in an intoxicated or under the influence of drugs state. They were trying to act as good Samaritans and take his car keys to prevent him driving further and he absolutely reacted in the most inappropriate fashion.”
Collen was sentenced to a total of six months in custody, suspended for two years. He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and given a fine of £500, with 20 weeks to pay.
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