A man who flicked urine at police during an altercation at a hospital has narrowly escaped a prison sentence.
James William Briers had been taken to Antrim Area Hospital on May 9 but became disorderly, shouting and swearing in front of other patients before police were called to attend.
A Prosecuting lawyer outlined to Antrim Magistrates Court that after Briers (36), of Parkmount Parade, Belfast, was restrained he continued to shout, saying he was in the UDA and using strongly sexual terminology and swear words. He refused to give police his details and told them his name was “Jemima from Mars”.
Briers also banged his head off the bars of the bed and attempted to bite one of the officers.
He then urinated and flicked the urine at police.
After being cautioned, he replied: “F*** away off, I’m in the UDA.”
The court heard that during a subsequent police interview, Briers told officers he could not remember what had happened and apologised for his behaviour.
Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said Briers had put himself in a difficult position given the court’s stance on such incidents in hospitals.
Mr Thompson said Briers lives with his mother, working part time, and is a “sensible, ordinary man”.
“His behaviour in the hospital was appalling,” Mr Thompson said.
He added: “His behaviour was erratic; he urinates on himself and flicks it in their [police] direction.”
Mr Thompson said that the last thing Briers remembers is consuming alcohol in Rathcoole.
He added that a medical report from doctors noted that drugs may also have been involved, and said his client thought his drink could have been spiked.
“He is under no illusion how bad his behaviour has been,” Mr Thompson said.
He added: “He utterly lost control of himself, and his bladder, on several occasions.
“While in police custody, he urinated again in the cell.
“When sober the next morning he asked for a mop to clean his own cell.”
Referring to a Probation report, Mr Thompson said Briers had been classed as being of a low risk of re-offending.
District Judge Alan White said it had been “absolutely appalling behaviour, one of the worst cases I’ve had”.
“I have no time for this at all,” Mr White said.
He said he had to assess if Briers’ actions crossed the custody threshold.
He added that the probation report had been favourable, along with “excellent” character references, and took into account Briers’ guilty plea.
“On balance, taking all these matters into account I am prepared to suspend the sentence,” Mr White said.
Briers was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to pay a total of £325 in compensation.