A Craigavon man who called a paramedic a “gay b******” and told police “the only good cop is a dead cop” has been jailed for four months.
Niall Byrne, of Clanrolla Park, appeared via videolink from Maghaberry at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Friday for the purpose of a pre-sentence report.
He stood charged with two counts of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, three counts of criminal damage, common assault, attempted criminal damage, two counts of disorderly behaviour, resisting police, two counts of assault on police, and assault causing actual bodily harm.
The offences were all committed on June 3 this year.
The court was told that at around 6pm, the defendant was at a house party on Moyraverty Court when he decided to take a PlayStation without the permission of the owner.
Twenty-one-year-old Byrne was confronted and reacted by hitting the owner over the head with a knife or a plate.
Court heard the injured party suffered lacerations to the arm and the head.
The defendant then proceeded to Clanrolla Park where his aunt lives and stole an ornamental duck from a person’s property.
Byrne then swung the garden decoration around his head which caused his aunt fear when she saw him.
Court heard the defendant would later assault another man with a snooker cue.
When police arrived Byrne dropped the cue and was subsequently arrested.
There was a struggle as the defendant was apprehended as he verbally abused officers shouting “the only good cop is a dead cop”.
As he was detained he spat both at an officer and whilst in the police car.
At around 10pm Byrne was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital over concerns with his health.
Whilst here the defendant was abusive to staff even calling one of the paramedics a “gay b******”.
Byrne also again spat at a constable.
When interviewed about the events the defendant denied all the charges.
Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said this was “a potential hate crime” especially regarding “racial comments made towards one officer”.
He summed up the offences as having “aggravating features galore” conceding that “an immediate prison sentence does seem likely”.
Mr Thompson said his client had “lost the run of himself” and “in not being able to keep his mouth shut it seems like he was on a mission to offend everyone”.
He asked District Judge Bernie Kelly to take into account both Byrne’s plea and the fact he had been in custody since the incident, having previously been unable to perfect bail.
District Judge Kelly said this was “certainly a hate crime”, specifically with regard to his comments about the paramedic, adding that his “language towards police was disgraceful”.
She informed the defendant: “These people are here to help you and that is the way you treat them.”
Byrne was sentenced to four months in prison.
Judge Kelly warned the defendant: “My starting was six but I have reduced it due to time served but if I see you again Mr Byrne for anything I will send you to prison for a longer time.”