Belfast Telegraph

Man held on assault and driving charges 'attacks PSNI for fun'

A Co Fermanagh farmer described as someone who
A Co Fermanagh farmer described as someone who "assaults the police for fun" has been refused bail

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Co Fermanagh farmer described as someone who "assaults the police for fun" has been refused bail.

Hugh John Elliott, of Baragh Gardens in Ballinamallard, has been in custody since May 20 after being arrested on suspicion on driving offences.

The 37-year old disqualified driver denies being behind the wheel of a white van in Trillick despite being identified by a police officer who has known him for 20 years.

An application to release the defendant, who has 95 criminal convictions, on bail was made at the High Court but refused by Mr Justice O'Hara, who expressed concerns about his record and branded him a "recurring offender".

The court was told Elliott was facing two sets of charges linked to alleged incidents in May of this year.

He is accused of assaulting a female police officer in Enniskillen on May 5 and of driving offences in Trillick on May 20.

A prosecuting barrister said Elliott was seen by officers at Castle Street in Enniskillen in the early hours of May 5.

He was wanted for arrest on other offences and when officers tried to seize him he resisted and became verbally and physically aggressive.

The prosecutor alleged the defendant then pushed a female officer, who fell onto her back on the road.

While she sustained no serious injuries she was unable to complete her shift.

After Elliot was released, police in Trillick were informed on May 20 that he had been seen driving a white van.

Officers went to a house he is linked to to await his arrival. As the van approached the property it "slowed to a walking pace".

The vehicle, which police say was driven by Elliott, passed officers, failed to stop, then drove in a loop on surrounding roads.

When it finally came to a halt they saw the defendant trying to climb out of the passenger side.

The prosecuting barrister said that when approached Elliott's speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol. When arrested, he replied "suck my b***s".

He is also accused of spitting in his cell and refusing to give a breath sample for analysis.

The Crown barrister said Elliott denied driving the van and claimed he was a passenger despite being recognised by a police officer who has known him for 20 years.

She told Mr Justice O'Hara that police objections to bail included fears the defendant would re-offend and concerns he would not surrender himself to bail.

She said: "Police find it difficult to get hold of him and he gave police different addresses."

A defence barrister said his client was "using his time usefully" on remand and had attended a course about driving offences.

He also said Elliott had significant problems with alcohol and was a "different man when he does not have drink on board".

Mr Justice O'Hara said there was "clearly" a prima facie case against the defendant.

He added that as his record was littered with attacks on police he felt Elliott was a man who "assaults the police for fun".

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