Teen jailed for swinging hammer at police officer
A Co Antrim man who swung a hammer at a police officer during a "stand-off" between two groups of youths in Belfast city centre was handed a 12-month prison sentence.
Alan Christopher Liam Hutchings (19), from Woodland Grove in Antrim, was caught on CCTV swinging the weapon at the officer during an incident at Royal Avenue on February 7.
At Belfast Crown Court yesterday he admitted two offences arising from the incident - possessing an offensive weapon and attempting to commit grievous bodily harm.
Prosecuting barrister Gareth Purvis told Judge Paul Ramsey QC that police were called to Royal Avenue due to a "stand-off between two rival groups of youths" who made "threatening moves towards each other, then backed off".
Confirming to the court there was "no actual physical violence" between the groups, Mr Purvis said that when police arrived at the scene, one youth was grabbed by an officer and brought to the ground.
Hutchings ran at the officer from behind and swung a blow at him with a hammer.
The officer was able to deflect the blow, which struck his rib area, and no injuries were sustained as he was wearing body armour.
Judge Ramsey said that after viewing the CCTV footage, it was clear Hutchings did not pre-plan the incident but instead reacted in a spontaneous manner to the situation which arose.
Branding the incident as "very serious", he handed Hutchings a 12-month prison sentence.