An Armagh man who spat in an ambulance and sent harassing messages has been given 80 hours of community service, alongside probation for a year.
The 33-year-old was charged with harassment and criminal damage.
In relation to the harassment charge, the court heard that on dates between April 1, 2021 and January 22, 2022, the defendant sent a number of messages to the complainant.
The criminal damage charge relates to an incident which occurred on February 11 of this year, when police were tasked to a report of concern for safety in Armagh by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service – regarding the defendant.
Whilst police were placing the defendant in the rear of the ambulance, he spat after being warned not to.
Steffan Rafferty BL, defending, said that Loughery had no recollection of the incident, but was committed to repaying the fee for cleaning the ambulance.
He said that his client was “severely under the influence of alcohol” but that he “accepted it fully and admitted his guilt”.
The defence said: “He tells me he is known for his charitable work around the area of Armagh during Covid and particularly he went to great lengths to raise funds for various agencies who were helping people during the pandemic.
“In terms of this particular offence, it’s really out of kilter with his attitude and his approach and his view to the emergency and health services.”
In relation to the harassment charge, Mr Rafferty said Loughrey had previously worked for the injured party but went out on his own, adding: “His own relative success seems to have been the cause of a dispute between the two of them.”
The court also heard that the defendant had received a suspended sentence the previous week for public order and criminal damage charges.
District Judge Anne Marshall, commenting on the incident in the ambulance, said: “He’s now quite rightly ashamed of it, spitting in the direction of the paramedic and spitting on the ambulance.”
District Judge Marshall, on reading the injured party’s statement, which chronicled the history between the defendant and the injured party, added: “The other charge of harassment is quite concerning because I’m being given two very different pictures here”, before outlining a number of comments made to the injured party.
“He encountered the injured party in person – the injured party was pushing a baby in a pram, a very young baby in a pram – and spat in the direction of the pram and there was verbal abuse towards the injured party.
“Then, as well as shouting and screaming at him, he threw an object at his car. The bang woke the baby, who was sleeping in the back of the car, and caused a dent to the car.”
District Judge Marshall added: “The impact of these type of cases of harassment is significant”.
And on passing sentence, she said: “You’re already under two suspended sentences, so I’m not giving you another one and, particularly in relation to the behaviour towards a paramedic, I think it’s vital that you put something back into the community.”
Loughery was sentenced to a probation order for a period of one year, alongside an order to undergo 80 hours of community service.
“If you breach that order and come back before the court, all sentencing options are then open, including custody,” District Judge Marshall warned.