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Man who assaulted police and ambulance staff avoids prison sentence

The district judge said defendant had 'made good progress' adding he was 'clearly off the rails and very close to going to prison'

Ambulance

A Lurgan man who assaulted police and ambulance staff who came to his aid has been given a conditional discharge after “making good progress”.

The district judge told the 27-year-old: “You were clearly off the rails and were very close to going to prison.”

Shane Harte, of Garland Avenue, appeared for deferred sentencing on common assault, disorderly behaviour, possession of Class B, four counts of assault on police, resisting police and two counts of criminal damage at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that at 8.30am on June 2, 2018, the defendant was discovered unconscious in the Lakelands in Craigavon.

Upon being approached by ambulance staff Harte got aggressive. He punched one paramedic in the face before throwing rocks at those in attendance.

Police then arrived and arrested the defendant and during a search a grinder containing aa suspected Class B drug was found on his person.

Harte then became violent towards police. He spat in the face of two officers and on the leg of a third when he was restrained on the ground.

Whilst being conveyed to Craigavon Area Hospital, the defendant kicked a glass window on a cell van causing damage.

In the hospital, Harte then shouted and swore at staff. He was further arrested for all the offences before the court.

Whilst in custody, the defendant also tried to chew off limb restraints which had been placed on him.

During interview, Harte did not deny committing the offences.

He told police he had taken his medication, drank and taken cannabis before riding his bike on a mission to kill himself.

The defendant claimed he fell off his bike and hit his head and the next thing he could remember was waking up in custody.

Defence barrister David McKeown stated: “This was a very difficult time for him when this occurred. He was suffering many mental health problems for which he received medication but he was also self medicating.

“To his credit he presents today in a much better state. He has been clean for 18 months, had not come to police attention since and has been assessed as having a low likelihood of reoffending.”

District Judge Greg McCourt said: “You have made good progress since last year. You were clearly off the rails and were very close to going to prison.”

Mr McKeown outlined that Harte was not suitable for community service due to asthma complaints.

The defendant was handed a conditional discharge for two years and was ordered to pay a fine of £700, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

Harte was also ordered to pay compensation of £50 to each of the officers assaulted, along with paying £111.52 for damage to the limb restraints and cell van.

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