18 Aug 2022

Court hears Derry man with Hepatitis C punched by policeman after he spat in face of female police officer

A Derry man who is registered as having Hepatitis C allegedly was punched in the face by a policeman after he spat in the face of the officer’s female colleague, a court has heard. Corey McMullan, 26, of Bond's Hill in Derry appeared at Derry Magistrates Court on Tuesday for a a breach of bail and five new charges. McMullan was charged with two counts of assaulting police, one charge of resisting police, a charge of possessing an offensives weapon namely a plank of wood and disorderly behaviour. All of the charges were said to have occurred on June 25. A police officer connected McMullan to the charges and opposed bail. He told the court that police were tasked to Clooney Terrace in Derry after reports of a man waving a plank of wood around. The court heard that when police arrived they saw McMullan who appeared to be intoxicated – a breach of his bail conditions. Police drew their batons and ordered McMullan to drop the wood, which he did. The defendant was placed in the back of a police car and the court was told as he was being taken to Strand Road Police station he became aggressive, and spat in the face of a female officer sitting beside him. The driver then stopped the car and turned towards McMullan. The officer said the defendant cleared his throat, which led the officer to believe McMullan was going to spit again. The court head the officer then 'punched him in the face.' McMullan was then said to have struggled with officers who had to use limb restraints and place him in a cell van. On arrival at Strand Road McMullan had to be taken directly to the cells as he was being aggressive. The female officer was seen by a medical officer and advised to go to the hospital. The officer told the court that it would be some time before the tests came back. The officer opposed bail on the ground that McMullan had 96 previous convictions and added 'when he gets drunk he goes around spitting on people. He is a danger to the public.' The police officer added that it was ‘disgusting’ to spit in an officer's face. Defence solicitor, Ciaran Harkin said the breach of bail was accepted and added that McMullan had been a heroin user. He said he had made a mistake about his bail conditions and had gone for a drink with his mother. The solicitor said that when the charge of resisting police was put to him. he replied: “How can I resist when I was being battered.” Mr. Harkin said his client had visible injuries on him and was making a complaint to the ePolice Ombudsman. He added that his client would maintain police used 'excessive force'. District Judge Barney McElholm said that McMullan had been given a chance at another court and should have taken it. He said when police arrived all McMullan had to do was 'quieten down' He said it was hard to believe that a police officer would make up a story about McMullan spitting at her. He refused bail and remanded the defendant in custody until July 16. As McMullan was being led away he shouted personal abuse at Judge McElholm and was brought back up into the dock. After allowing McMullan's solicitor to speak to him the defendant apologised. Judge McElholm told the defendant that if there was any repeat of his behaviour he would be sentenced to 28 days for contempt.

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