A Belfast man who left a police dog with a bloody muzzle after he kicked it in the mouth “deserves an immediate” jail sentence, a judge declared on Tuesday.
Describing the actions of David Thompson as “atrocious behaviour”, District Judge Nigel Broderick told the 39-year-old that initially he was “quite prepared” to jail him but having heard he was recently put on probation, “not without significant hesitation, I’m prepared to defer sentence”.
With Thompson standing at the back of Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, the judge warned him the two conditions of deferral were that he did not commit further offences and that he engaged with the recently imposed probation order.
“If you do both, I won’t send you to prison but if, however, you do reoffend or don’t comply with probation, I will have little or no hesitation in imposing a custodial sentence,” the judge warned Thompson.
At an earlier hearing Thompson, from Southland Dale in Belfast, entered guilty pleas to nine offences, including failing to provide a specimen of blood, possessing a weapon, resisting police, causing criminal damage to a police dog, taking a Renault Traffic van without the owner’s consent , driving with neither licence nor insurance, driving while unfit and having a defective tyre.
Previous courts heard that when cops stopped the van on the Lisnevenagh Road, Thompson was handcuffed when he broke free and sprinted across four lanes of traffic, almost being struck by a car on the busy dual carriageway.
When a police dog found him hiding under a bush, he kicked out at the canine unit, booting the dog in the face and leaving it with a bloody muzzle.
In court on Tuesday, defence counsel Richard McConkey submitted that with Thompson engaging in the recent probation order, “breaking the cycle” of drugs and offending, “I’m trying to persuade you to leave something hanging over his head”.
With a warning that Thompson faces jail if he breaks the terms of the deferral, DJ Broderick put the case back to 7 June.