A MAN who smashed the back of his head into the face of a police officer who suffered a broken tooth has been given a four months jail term by a judge who said he had to send out a message that such attacks were unacceptable.
District Judge Peter King was speaking at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday where Conor Joseph Doherty (27), with an address at Lodge Road in Coleraine was being sentenced.
The defendant previously failed to turn up in court and had been convicted in his absence on charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and resisting another police officer in the execution of his duty.
The charges relate to March 4, 2018. Doherty was at court for sentencing on Monday,
A prosecutor said police had gone to an address in relation to a report that Doherty had allegedly made a threat to a male on Facebook.
During a struggle the defendant slammed the back of his head into the officer’s mouth who had to go to hospital with a broken tooth.
A defence solicitor said the assault happened during a melee when the defendant had been “acting as somewhat of a peacemaker” before the situation had escalated out of control.
Judge King said the defendant had a record for resisting and assaulting police officers in 2013 but said the current case was in an “entirely different league”.
The judge said he had an “obligation to send out a very strong message this is not remotely acceptable”.
He added: “Police officers deserve the utmost protection of the courts”.
As well as a four months jail term, Doherty was also ordered to pay the injured police officer £350 compensation.
The defendant had bail fixed for appeal in the sum of £750.