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Belfast man who spat in face of police and mocked murdered officer avoids jail


Belfast Magistrates Court

Belfast Magistrates Court

PA Archive/PA Images

Belfast Magistrates Court

A man who kicked and spat in the faces of PSNI officers and appeared to mock a murdered member of the force has avoided jail.

Belfast Magistrates' Court was told Gerard Emmette also tried to bite one of the policemen, shouted "Up the 'Ra" and verbally abused a hospital doctor.

The 22-year-old was given a four-month suspended sentence after a defence lawyer said he was "horrified" by his actions.

Emmette, of Evelyn Gardens in Belfast, admitted three counts of disorderly behaviour, two assaults on police, criminal damage and obstructing police.

One incident involved an apparent reference to PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr, who was killed in a bomb attack near Omagh, Co Tyrone in April 2011.

Emmette became hostile and abusive when police spoke to him on North Queen Street in the early hours of January 18, the court was told.

Prosecution counsel Stephanie Boyd said: "He persisted to shout and swear, making personal insults about one of the officers' wives and making fun of murdered PSNI officers, saying 'you'll be getting shot like your man Kerr', 'up the 'Ra' and 'f*** away off scumbags'."

A week later he was again spotted in an agitated state on the city's Antrim Road. He told police he had taken cocaine, but became aggressive during attempts to search him.

"He then spat at the arresting officer, attempted to bite another officer and kicked him in the face," Mrs Boyd said.

Inside the cell van he spat again on the officer's face again, and all over the vehicle's interior.

On July 23 he provided a false name to police before jumping out of a living room window at flats in Belfast.

He was detained outside, where his identity was confirmed by distinctive scars on his body.

But the prosecutor added: "He still maintained he was Joseph, and that Gerard was his twin brother who was in Spain."

Then, three days later Emmette was taken to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment to injuries after being arrested over a separate incident.

"When he was there he shouted and swore, telling a doctor he got paid for f*** all, and that he was a w*****," counsel said.

"He called the police names and shouted 'f*** the PSNI'."

Defence solicitor Ciaran Toner said his client had gone on a binge after slipping back into drug addiction.

"He's just been obnoxious, making a scene and then he comes to the attention of police and his behaviour is reprehensible," Mr Toner added.

"Even listening to it now he's shocked, he has no recollection and he's quite horrified."

Based on Emmette's addiction issues, District Judge Fiona Bagnall referred him to the substance misuse court.

She also imposed a total of four imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and warned that he faces immediate custody for any re-offending.

Referring to the incident at the Royal, Mrs Bagnall stressed: "Hospital staff don't need this type of behaviour at the present time."

Belfast Telegraph