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Probation for man who spat at officer after being arrested for possession of knife

He continued to swear at police whilst being taken into custody and was said to have shouted: 'f*** off you RUC b*******'

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A Newry man who spat on the hand of an officer after being arrested for possession of a knife in public has been sentenced to one year of probation.

Court heard how CCTV of Canal Street in the city showed the 41-year-old making stabbing motions with the knife at members of the public.

Gary Anthony Magee, of Bridge Street, appeared for sentencing on possession of Class C, disorderly behaviour, assault on police and possession of a bladed article in a public place at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on October 3, at 12.20am, police received a report of a man with a knife in the vicinity of Canal Street in Newry.

CCTV showed the male, later identified as this defendant, making stabbing motions with the knife at members of the public. Upon police arrival he threw the blade over a wall.

Magee co-operated with police and lay on his stomach when he was instructed to do so. He was handcuffed but then began shouting and swearing and this continued despite warnings.

Upon his arrest, police conducted a search of his person and during this tramadol was found to be in his possession.

It was outlined that Magee continued to swear at police whilst being taken into custody. He was said to have shouted: “f*** off you RUC b*******”.

Whilst in custody, the defendant also spat on the hand of one officer.

District Judge Eamon King commented that he had directed a presentence report and Magee’s attendance as he had been sentenced in August for a similar offence.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare stated: “The recent conviction and the seriousness of these matters is clearly cause for concern over Mr Magee’s behaviour and there is a real possibility of immediate custody.

“Spitting allegations are reprehensible at the best of times. It was said that Mr Magee was heard clearing his throat as if to spit as the officer placed his hand to his face and spittle landed on his hand.”

He continued: “This was not spitting but nevertheless was concerning for the officer. He did then push Mr Magee’s head against a window causing some injury, although the court could say he had that coming.

“The presentence report refers to the breakdown of a relationship earlier last year and you can put those things together.”

Mr O’Hare outlined that Magee had since found himself in hostel accommodation and had begun using substances.

Addressing the defendant, District Judge King said: “You can understand Mr Magee, why I have, number one, asked for a presentence report, and number two, why I have required you to attend court today.

“You have demonstrated that you can stay out of trouble, but the question is why you are back. The presentence report points to a relationship breakdown in 2019, which led to you being in hostel accommodation.”

He continued: “This seems to have contributed to you being back in court, but the probation service will be able to assist you in getting out of that situation.”

Magee was sentenced to probation for a period of 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £100, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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