Belfast Telegraph

Man sprayed with CS gas after brandishing knife, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Police sprayed a man with CS gas after he allegedly tried to slit his own throat, the High Court heard yesterday.

Officers discovered William Coulter on the street with a bread knife when they responded to a 999 call in Randalstown, Co Antrim, prosecutors said.

Coulter, aged 26 and with an address at Strand Close in east Belfast, is charged with four counts of assault on police.

He also faces a charge of possessing an offensive weapon in public over the incident on January 27.

Granting him bail, a judge directed his GP to consider making a referral for psychiatric assessment.

Crown lawyer Mark Farrell said police officers went to Drummaul Park in the town after being told a man was attempting to injure himself by slitting his throat.

When they arrived Coulter was outside and brandishing a bread knife, he claimed.

Mr Farrell continued: "He again tried to cut himself around the throat area."

The court heard Coulter allegedly refused requests to drop the knife and then advanced towards the police in an aggressive manner.

Officers drew their weapons before spraying him with CS gas from a safe distance.

"That had the desired effect of making him desist in his behaviour and the knife was dropped," Mr Farrell added.

Coulter was released after being charged, but returned to custody for allegedly breaching an alcohol ban.

Defence counsel for Coulter said his client suffers from anxiety, depression and a drink problem.

But seeking an explanation for his alleged behaviour, Mr Justice Maguire responded: "The description is that he was taking a knife to himself - that's more than just drinking alcohol."

Despite deciding Coulter can be released again, the judge stressed he must get any help required.

The judge said: "The court is concerned about the mental health of the applicant and believes a referral to a psychiatrist may be a worthwhile step to take."

Belfast Telegraph

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