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Belfast man Atcheson jailed after brandishing knife at police

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The Laganside Courts complex in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Laganside Courts complex in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

The Laganside Courts complex in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

A Belfast man who brandished a knife at police during the lockdown has been jailed for five months.

Prosecutors said officers had to spray Samuel Atcheson with CS gas to bring him under control.

The 33-year-old, of Kinnaird Close in the city, was convicted of possessing an offensive weapon with intent, two counts of assault on police, and criminal damage to a PSNI car.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the constables were called to a domestic incident at Atcheson's home on March 28 this year.

He was asked to leave but became abusive and repeatedly swore at police, screaming and clenching his fists.

Crown lawyer Stephanie Boyd said: "He threw a bed mattress in the direction of police, and went towards another officer to make him believe he was going to he head-butted or spat at.

"The defendant then entered the kitchen, took possession of a kitchen knife, and began to walk towards police with the knife held out in front of him."

CS spray was deployed at that point in order to arrest Atcheson.

He was put inside a police vehicle but began spitting as he was being taken into custody, Mrs Boyd added.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell said officers had got "caught in the crossfire" during a domestic row.

He told the court footage from body-worn cameras showed his client being sprayed in the face as he remonstrated with the knife.

The encounter only lasted for a matter of seconds, Mr Farrell stressed.

"Police officers were about six foot from him, it's not a case where he was at very close range," the barrister contended.

"Then he's in the back of a police car suffering the ill-effects of this gas, and he's spitting it out."

Imposing a total sentence of five months, District Judge Fiona Bagnall pointed out: "This all happened on March 28, just after lockdown, and that's a strong aggravating factor given the nature of the offences."

Belfast Telegraph


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