A 31-YEAR-OLD woman has received a suspended jail sentence after biting a police officer, and attempting to bite his colleague, when she was taken to hospital for treatment.
Karen McDonald, of Main Street, Ballinamallard, was charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer in the course of his duty on December 7, 2016.
In connection with a separate incident, she was further charged with obstructing police, assaulting a female police officer and resisting arrest on January 22, 2017.
McDonald entered guilty pleas to all the charges when she appeared before Fermanagh Magistrates Court on Monday.
The court heard that, on December 7, police attended the defendant’s home address over concerns for her safety after she had injured herself.
She was conveyed to South West Acute Hospital for treatment.
While at the hospital, McDonald kicked out at the officers and had to be restrained.
She attempted to bite one police officer and then bit another officer who was wearing gloves.
The defendant was subsequently taken back to Enniskillen custody suite, but had to return to the hospital as she required medical attention.
On this occasion she had calmed down “considerably” and apologised for her actions.
Meanwhile, at 2.45am on January 22 this year, police were called to a separate incident at the defendant’s home address.
When they tried to arrest her partner, she stood between him and the officers. She wrapped herself around her partner and began shouting and swearing.
McDonald continued to obstruct the officers and then slapped a female policewoman on the face.
She had an “item” in her hand, the court heard.
Her abusive language towards the police continued as they escorted her partner into the rear of the police vehicle.
The defendant opened the back door of the car and shouted: “Get out and run!”
After she was told to move away, McDonald struck out at the female officer, causing swelling and tenderness to the face.
During interview, she admitted opening the door of the police car, but denied the assault.
Defending counsel, Ciaran Roddy, told the court that the offences were “very serious”, with a number of aggravating features.
In mitigation, the barrister said his client, who experienced a “difficult upbringing”, had a number of mental health problems and was recently a patient at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh.
Mr. Roddy said that she was now on medication and “more settled”.
Looking at her criminal record, the barrister said she had 11 previous convictions for common assault, but the last of these had been committed when she was 16.
He added that she was currently subject to a Combination Order and had already completed the Community Service element.
Urging the judge to impose a suspended sentence, Mr. Roddy said that the offences had occurred when she did not have the assistance of medication.
District judge, Amanda Brady, observed that the custody threshold had been passed in the case, but, taking into account what had been said, the judge said she would suspend any sentence.
Ms. Brady imposed a total jail term of four months, which she then suspended for 12 months.