Woman hit PSNI officer on head

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A 20-year-old woman from Top of the Hill who issued a volley of verbal abuse at police officers before punching one on the head during an incident last December has been given probation and 100 hours of community service.

Shannon Harkin, from Derryview Terrace, appeared at Derry Magistrate’s Court yesterday having pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, disorderly behaviour and possession of cannabis.

A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) solicitor told the court that police were called to an incident in the vicinity of the Day Today shop on the Strabane Old Road at around 6.10am on December 14.

Officers were confronted by a man who ran towards them making threats, the court was told. The PPS solicitor explained how, during the course of the man’s arrest, Harkin tried to intervene and was verbally abusive towards the officers, shouting “you f*****g scum b******s”, “black b******s”, and “get to f**k”. Harkin tried to break free from police during the incident before punching one of the arresting officers on the head and spitting in their direction, the court heard.

She continued to behave abusively towards police when taken to Strand Road police station following her arrest, shouting “f**k you, RUC c***s”, the PPS solicitor said.

However, Harkin eventually calmed down, and “to her credit”, apologised to the police officer she had punched in the head, saying, “I’m sorry I hit you”.

The court heard that Harking admitted being drunk and spitting at the officer but said she didn’t remember hitting the officer on the head, the court heard.

A quantity of cannabis was recovered from Harkin’s person during the course of her address.

A defence solicitor said Harkin accepted alcohol and substance use had been a factor in the incident and that she had gotten herself involved in something she shouldn’t have.

District Judge Barney McElholm imposed a probation order of 12 months on the disorderly behaviour charge and a 100 hour community service order in respect of the assault on police and possession of cannabis charges.