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Probation for woman who assaulted three police officers and gave them ‘absolutely foul’ abuse

'It is a nasty offence. The thing is the police officers were simply doing their jobs and should not have been subject to this abuse'

A woman who assaulted three police officers and shouted profanities at one relating to their nationality has been sentenced to two years probation.

Sentencing the 36-year-old, the district judge commented: “The thing is the police officers were simply doing their jobs and should not have been subject to this abuse. It is absolutely foul.”

Lesley Potts, of Fortwilliam Crescent in Belfast, appeared via her solicitor’s office for sentencing on four charges at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Wednesday.

The defendant had previously entered pleas to three counts of assault on police and resisting police relating to an incident in November of last year.

Prosecution outlined that on November 10, at 1am, police received a report of an incident at an address in the Portadown area.

Officers arrived to find the defendant banging on the door of the property in an attempt to gain access. Upon approach Potts became aggressive towards police and had to be restrained.

The defendant swung at officers and told them to “f*** off”. She did then calm down but later kicked out at one officer, hitting them on the left knee and in the stomach.

Potts was restrained but continued to struggle. She was able to get one of her arms free from handcuffs and attempted to bite one officer.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and taken to Lurgan Custody Suite. Whilst there Potts became irate and threw a cup of water at an officer, soaking their trousers.

Prosecution stated that the defendant also shouted profanity at one officer whilst in custody relating to their nationality.

District Judge Rosie Watters asked what the nationality of the officer was, to which the prosecution replied “Irish”.

Defence barrister Tony Lunny claimed: “This is a lady with a very difficult upbringing.

“She is a bright girl but unfortunately she fell through the net, she indulged in the abuse of alcohol and drugs. She had been employed as a painter and decorator for a number of years.”

He said she began to encounter mental health problems, including alcohol and drug abuse.

Mr Lunny outlined that upon her partner, who was described as being “difficult and abusive”, going to prison Potts ended up homeless and went to live with another lady.

He stated that having been off drugs and alcohol for seven months, at this new property there was “a lot of drink and drugs”.

Mr Lunny claimed that a false claim of an assault by this other female brought police to the address and that is what led to the defendant’s behaviour.

“She has since changed her life around,” said Mr Lunny. “She has moved out of the area, she has gone back to college to do her A-Levels and does seem to be making an attempt to get her life back on track.”

Court heard that Potts had four previous convictions for assault on police and that she received a sentence of one month suspended for two years for the last of these in March 2018.

District Judge Watters stated: “It is a nasty offence. The thing is the police officers were simply doing their jobs and should not have been subject to this abuse. It is absolutely foul.”

Potts was sentenced to a two year probation order.

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