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Drunk and verbally abusive man challenged officer to put down his baton and fight him with fists

Defendant had been seen staggering on the Portadown Road in Armagh and getting in the way of traffic

A Richhill man who kicked a police car and assaulted an officer whilst intoxicated has been handed a two year probation order.

The 29-year-old’s barrister stated: “This would appear to be somewhat of an aberration. In the report he outlines at the time there was the breakdown of a relationship. He was having difficulty with contact with his young children and he misused alcohol as a crutch.”

Gerard Anthony Rafferty, of Mullansilla Road, appeared for sentencing on assault on police and criminal damage at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on November 16, police received a report of an intoxicated male staggering on the Portadown Road in Armagh and getting in the way of traffic.

Shortly after 7am, officers arrived to find the defendant who appeared to be in an intoxicated state.

He ran across the road towards them and kicked the boot lid of a police vehicle. Officers tried to speak to Rafferty but he once more kicked the boot.

The defendant then became verbally abusive and pushed one officer in the chest knocking him backwards. He then took out his baton in response.

Rafferty is described as taking a fighting stance before telling the officer to put down his baton and fight him like a man with his fists.

He once more moved towards police who used CS spray and had to take the defendant to the ground.

Rafferty was handcuffed in the back of the police vehicle but continued to fight and struggle.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare stated: “This was a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity. He held his hands up and is embarrassed by this incident. He was clearly intoxicated but he accepts that is not an excuse.

“His record is not one which shows a particular propensity for this type of behaviour, although this is in breach of a suspended sentence he received in October 2019, for a category offence of breach of a non-molestation order.”

He continued: “There are a number of driving matters, in June 2012, he has an entry for assault on a male and his other antecedents is from 2010 with public order offences.

“This would appear to be somewhat of an aberration. In the report he outlines at the time there was the breakdown of a relationship. He was having difficulty with contact with his young children and he misused alcohol as a crutch.”

Mr O’Hare added: “He now does have contact and is working in order to provide for his two young children.”

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said: “There is already a suspended sentence still ringing in his ears from October, so there is already a degree of protection.

“I thought this was a recreational night out which resulted in the assault of a police officer but this man clearly has other issues which he needs to address.”

Rafferty was sentenced to two years probation for the offences.

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