Suspended jail term: Court hears County Antrim man told police: 'Arresting me for sticking up for myself against two foreigners'

Suspended jail term: Court hears County Antrim man told police: 'Arresting me for sticking up for myself against two foreigners'

A CRAIGYWARREN man who ran off from the PSNI and kicked an officer in the face, later said to police: "Arresting me for sticking up for myself against two foreigners, not even from this country, the whole country is taken over by them".

Details were previously outlined by a prosecutor at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena (main picture), where Stephen Purdy (36), a digger driver, of Hazelwood Drive, admitted charges of assaulting police, resisting an officer, being disorderly at Greenmount Avenue in Ballymena and possession of cannabis.

He was back in court for sentencing on March 29 and was given a five months prison term, suspended for three years.

A prosecutor told the earlier court that at 7.20pm on June 19 last year police were tasked by town centre CCTV operators to a report of an assault outside the Fairhill Bar in Ballymena.

When Purdy saw police he ran off down Hill Street and was chased and detained at Greenmount Avenue where he smelt of cannabis and was intoxicated.

He was searched and cannabis found.

When handcuffed he became aggressive and lunged towards officers.

He kicked out striking an officer on the shin causing bruising and stiffness.

Purdy repeatedly shouted and swore at police and whilst being put in a police vehicle he kicked another officer in the face, causing pain but no lasting injury.

Whilst being taken to Antrim Police Station Purdy continued to be aggressive, lashing out with his head and legs towards officers, requiring him to be restrained for the majority of the journey.

The prosecutor said: "Whilst waiting for entry to custody he stated: 'Arresting me for sticking up for myself against two foreigners, not even from this country, the whole country is taken over by them'."

The prosecutor said a member of the public alleged that during the initial incident outside the pub Purdy had attempted to punch them but missed.

The court heard charges of common assault had been withdrawn.

The prosecutor said the defendant said he used cannabis to "self-medicate".

A defence lawyer told the earlier hearing the defendant claimed he had been acting in "self defence" and added that two common assault charges were "dismissed for lack of prosecution evidence".

The barrister had said Purdy would take issue with any suggestion from prosecutors that there was a "hate crime" element to the case.

The lawyer added: "He may have some views on foreigners and may have expressed those, whilst he was drunk, to police but that isn't an offence on its own."

District Judge Nigel Broderick had adjourned sentencing and had told Purdy: "You are very close to going to prison".

The case has now been mentioned again in court where the defence lawyer said: "I don't believe it should be characterised as a 'hate crime' simply based on comments that the defendant makes whilst in custody. There is no suggestion there was a victim before the court who was attacked in any way because of their race.

"Just because a person holds particular views does not mean entirely unconnected offending against police officers is a hate crime".

Judge Broderick told the defendant he had a "poor record" and added: "You will need to mend your ways if you want to avoid prison".

Handing down the suspended sentence he added: "I am going to accept the submissions made and I'm not going to categorise this as a 'hate crime'."