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Armagh woman warned she faces ‘a lot of time behind bars’ if behaviour doesn’t change

An Armagh woman who kicked out at ambulance staff and assaulted a police officer on St Patrick’s Day has been given a community-based order.

Grainne Dalton, 20, of St Patrick’s Park, appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with assault on police, resisting arrest and disorderly behaviour for the purpose of a pre-sentence report.

Court heard that on March 17, at around 5.45pm, police were called to Thomas Street, Armagh, to assist ambulance staff after the defendant had kicked out at them while they attempted to treat her.

When police arrived, Dalton was being looked after at the rear of the ambulance, but police could hear her verbally abusing staff.

The court heard it was clear the defendant was highly intoxicated and needed to sober up.

She was told by police to put on her shoes and wait for her family – who had been contacted – to come pick her up.

Dalton refused to do so and threw her shoes at the police; one female officer informed the defendant that she had a body cam.

At this point, Dalton tried to grab the camera and kicked out at the officer.

The defendant began to shout “you dirty blonde b******” at the woman.

Defence counsel stated that the defendant wished to “apologise to the police and ambulance staff”.

The defence also told the court the defendant had not taken alcohol since the incident, stating she was aware of the risk of custody and it was “sad to see someone her age with such a difficult life”.

Court heard the pre-sentence report rated the likelihood of reoffending as “medium”.

Defence counsel insisted a community-based order would be the best option for sentencing to help Dalton “work through her issues without resorting to alcohol”.

District Judge Paul Copeland, addressing the defendant, said: “I have listed several reasons you should go to prison for this offence.”

He went on to say “the assault and aggressive behaviour towards those who assist the community” could not be tolerated.

However, the prospect of a community service order was seen as the only alternative by the judge, who stated: “If you are fit enough to get tanked up on Buckfast wine and vodka, you are fit enough to do a days work”.

He warned Dalton that “if you are going to make a career of this type of behaviour, you will spend a lot of time behind bars”.

It was heard that the defendant had failed a previous order in 2016 but Judge Copeland told her this time “lazy or uncooperative behaviour” will not be tolerated.

Dalton was sentenced to 200 hours of community service but warned she could spend up to seven months in prison if she failed to engage.

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