Court told that Derry man spat in police officer’s face as he checked his temperature for COVID-19 symptoms on Saturday

Defendant remanded in custody

Derry courthouse

Derry courthouse at Bishop Street.

A Derry man who spat in an officer’s face as he checked his temperature for COVID-19 symptoms has been remanded into custody.

James Millan, 23, of Dacre Terrace, faces charges of criminal damage to a B&B door and a mobile phone, disorderly behaviour, four counts of assaulting police officers and one count of resisting police on Saturday evening.

Objecting to bail, a police officer said the PSNI was tasked to Bridge B&B at 8.10pm because of concerns about damage to their property.

On arrival officers were directed to the defendant’s room.

He was arrested for two counts of criminal damage including that to a door in the room.

When being placed in the vehicle he allegedly threatened officers and attempted to headbutt one.

The court heard that he continued to be ‘aggressive and abusive’.

When a custody detention officer tried to take his temperature in line with COVID-19 regulations, the defendant allegedly spat at two of them and it landed in one officer’s face.

During police interview, Millan said he had drank half a bottle of whiskey and six cans of Dragon Soop.

The 23-year-old added that he hadn’t taken his anti-psychotic medication for over a month.

The police officer also said that Millan now has no bail address available to him and was in breach of a number of suspended sentences.

A defence solicitor asked for bail to be granted subject to approval of an address.

Millan had a difficult upbringing and transient lifestyle between hostels, he added.

The incident was borne out of alcohol, the defence solicitor said, and if he could be granted bail subject to a no alcohol condition it may go some way to assuage the court’s concerns.

District Judge Barney McElholm described Millan as a ‘relentless offender’ adding that it is ‘long past the time he should’ve given up alcohol’ as it ‘clearly doesn’t work with him’.

Refusing bail, the judge said he has ‘no faith’ the 23-year-old would adhere to bail conditions and is ‘almost certain’ he would reoffend.

Judge McElholm added: “If the government would provide us with facilities we could send addicts and people with mental health difficulties I would release him to there but they refuse to do that.”

The defendant will appear by way of video link again later this month.

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