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Football star who spat in cop's face spared jail

Lockdown breach player had mental health crisis

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Ben Kennedy (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Ben Kennedy (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Ben Kennedy (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

A footballer who drunkenly spat in a police officer's face has become the first person in Northern Ireland to be sentenced for breaching coronavirus regulations.

Former Northern Ireland under-21 star Ben Kennedy was given a five-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was fined £100 after a hearing at Lisburn Magistrates Court was told he was going through a mental health crisis at the time of the offence.

The 23-year-old lashed out on Longstone Street in the city on April 30, at the height of lockdown, after officers who did not believe he had reason to be out in public repeatedly told him to go home.