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Man jailed for attacking police officer at Belfast hospital

By Alan Erwin

Published 15/09/2016

During a struggle with a policeman called to the scene he kicked out at the officer.
During a struggle with a policeman called to the scene he kicked out at the officer.

A man has been jailed for attacking a police officer trying to deal with him at a Belfast hospital.

Gareth Luney received a three-month sentence for an outburst where he also swallowed a quantity of cannabis.

District Judge Eamonn King told the 26-year-old there will be zero-tolerance of misbehaviour in "places of sanctuary".

Luney, of Blackthorn Rise in Larne, Co Antrim, was convicted of assault on police, possession of Class B drugs and two counts of common assault.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court in connection with separate incidents at the Royal Victoria Hospital in June and July this year.

On one occasion he was said to have turned up, behaved aggressively and then jumped from a 30ft wall.

The court heard he also arrived while his son was being treated in a children's ward.

Luney was said to have become agitated when staff would not let him take the child out for his birthday.

During a struggle with a policeman called to the scene he kicked out at the officer.

Although a quantity of cannabis was discovered on Luney, he then put it in his mouth and swallowed.

Defence solicitor Denis Moloney said his client had apologised for his "outrageous" actions.

"He realised nobody should be subjected to that sort of behaviour in a caring environment," Mr Moloney added.

Imposing a three-month jail term for all the offences, Judge King told Luney: "People go there for treatment, nurture and care, they don't go there to be assaulted and abused.

"It's a place of sanctuary and the court has to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to misbehaviour on these premises, irrespective of whatever drugs or alcohol you're under."

He then granted the defendant bail pending an appeal against the prison sentence.

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