Jail sentence for man who spat and abused police

A Top of the Hill man who spat at police while being arrested for disorderly behaviour on Carlisle Road in March, will appeal a four month jail term which was imposed at Derry Magistrate's Court last week.

Friday, 9th June 2017, 8:00 am

Keith Gillespie (36), of Mimosa Court, became abusive towards police after they responded to a report from a member of the public concerned for his safety on March 8.

A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) solicitor told the court Gillespie was “highly intoxicated” when police arrived at approximately 12.20 p.m. on the afternoon of the offending.

During the course of the police intervention, Gillespie, shouted abuse: “f**k off,” “f**k you” adding political slogans, including “Tiocfaidh ár lá”, the court heard.

He also spat at and swung his fist in the direction of one of the arresting officers, the solicitor said.

When charged with the offences the next day, Gillespie said he couldn’t remember committing them.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said Gillespie was an alcoholic who suffered from acute difficulties that were reflected in the situation in which he found himself.

Mr. Devlin also told the court that his client had not offended again or come to the police’s attention since the incident in March.

District Judge Barney McElholm said Gillespie had run out of road and that he was convinced that if he gave him a chance he would not take it.

He added that he was aware the defendant has been “binge-drinking since he was 17.”

“He’s had ample opportunity to confront the fact that he is a hopeless drunk, but then there are many hopeless drunks that very seldom trouble other people,” he said.

The District Judge jailed Gillespie for four months but granted him his own bail of £300 to appeal the sentence.