Belfast Telegraph

Woman assaulted PSNI officer after ringing for help with 'broken tooth', court told

Belfast Magistrates' Court.
Belfast Magistrates' Court.

By Alan Erwin

A woman allegedly assaulted a PSNI officer after phoning to seek help for a broken tooth, a court heard today.

Ruth Cunningham was given a 12-month conditional discharge and warned not to make any more "foolish and unnecessary calls".

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the 50-year-old, of Laurel Hill in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, contacted police on October 28 last year.

A prosecution lawyer said Cunningham requested assistance about a broken tooth.

She was told it wasn't a police matter, but responded by indicating that she may harm herself.

Police then went to Cunningham's home, locating her at the top of the stairs in a drunk and uncooperative state, the court heard.

When she appeared to be making another call a policewoman advised her to stop and moved towards her.

According to the prosecution Cunningham responded by slapping the constable's hand and struggled during arrest.

Defence counsel Luke Curran said his client has mental health issues and wanted to go to hospital.

He argued that she was not making any malicious, drunken calls.

District Judge Paul Copeland was also told Cunningham was the victim of a serious stabbing in the past.

"She has had her share of woes and more," Mr Curran added.

Deciding to hand down the conditional discharge, the judge said he was giving her a chance at the start of a new year.

But he warned Cunningham: "If there's any further foolish and unnecessary calls that disrupt the police and their resources and you end up in court over it this call will be revisited."

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