Man 'collecting seaweed' at Antrim Coast Road is convicted of assaulting police officers

Man 'collecting seaweed' at Antrim Coast Road is convicted of assaulting police officers

A MAN has been convicted of assaulting police after Ballymena Magistrates Court heard he threatened to pull PSNI officers into the sea at the Coast Road near Ballygalley where he said he had been collecting seaweed.

Karl Houston (57), of Millvale, Ballygalley, had contested the charges he faced.

He was not present at court but the case proceeded in his absence.

The defendant, Court News NI can report, was convicted of assaulting officers in relation to June 6, 2021.

He was also convicted of resisting one of the officers; failing to provide a breath sample and being in charge of a vehicle whilst having excess alcohol in his breath.

The court heard the defendant's vehicle was parked on the Coast Road with the keys in the ignition and Houston was smelling of alcohol and "stumbling" a short distance away.

A police officer said the defendant said he was "collecting seaweed" and told police he would "take us all down to the water".

The officer said they had to "wrestle" with the defendant to get handcuffs on him as he "continued to try and roll towards the water".

Another officer told the court the defendant tried to drag him down an "embankment".

When arrested the defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 87 at a police station - the legal drink drive limit is 35.

Convicting the defendant of the charges, Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said he had watched police bodyworn footage and it showed that officers spent some time with the defendant who then assaulted an officer.

He said officers feared they were going to be possibly "moved towards the water down the slope".

The judge also said it was "quite clear" the defendant failed to provide a preliminary breath test and that he had excess alcohol in his breath.

Judge Mateer said given the location; the absence of anyone else nearby; the presence of a vehicle and the defendant living some distance away meant he was in charge of the vehicle to get to and from the scene.

The case was adjourned to February 10 for a pre-sentence report.