A Portuguese man who assaulted police officers in Portadown had previously been deported from the UK, a court has heard.
The Deputy District Judge, on imposing sentence, said it was in “everybody’s interests” that he leave the country as soon as possible.
Rafael Amado Mendes Balde, with an address in St John’s Court, Portadown, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday via videolink from Maghaberry, with the assistance of a Portuguese translator.
The 23-year-old appeared before the court charged with two counts of assault on police, disorderly behaviour, resisting police, obstructing police and illegal entry to the UK.
The court heard that police were on patrol in Portadown on November 5 this year at approximately 1:30am, when they observed four males at the rear of retail premises on the Tandragee Road. Due to the time of day and the premises being closed, police stopped the men for a search as they went to walk away.
The defendant refused to comply and started “swinging” at police. He began shouting loudly, telling police that he “knew his rights”. He then punched a police constable in the hand and ran off. He was found by police hiding in a garden and was apprehended.
He was arrested and refused to provide details to police. When he was identified, it was established that he had been deported from the UK in November 2020, so had therefore entered the UK illegally.
A defence solicitor told the court that the defendant had come to Northern Ireland at the request of his mother, due to family circumstances, and had no intention of remaining in Northern Ireland.
He said that the defendant had a flight booked to return home the morning after his arrest, and that he wanted to return to Portugal “as soon as possible”.
It was added that the defendant had pleaded guilty at an early opportunity, and the defence asked the Deputy District Judge to impose a sentence that would not “interfere with his return to Portugal”.
Deputy District Judge Browne said that it was “clearly in everybody’s interests for him to leave the country as soon as possible”, and that the conduct of the defendant on the night was “unacceptable” behaviour towards police, “probably prompted by what he knew was the situation that would be uncovered if he was apprehended”.
Deputy District Judge Browne imposed a sentence of four months on each charge, to run concurrently and suspended for two years.