AN 'unfit' motorist crashed into the back of a vehicle at Dunsilly Roundabout near Antrim town and when arrested she spat in the face of a police officer.
Danguole Uboniene, whose age was not given, of Oaktree Drive in Antrim town, admitted offences which happened on December 2 last year.
At Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, the defendant pleaded guilty to assault on police; criminal damage to a police cell van; attempted criminal damage to the cell van; driving whilst unfit; failing to provide a specimen of breath; and a driving licence offence.
The defendant had the assistance of a Lithuanian interpreter in court.
A prosecutor said at 5pm on December 2 police attended a report of a two vehicle collision at Dunsilly Roundabout.
A driver said the defendant crashed into the rear of her vehicle causing minor damage.
Police noticed the defendant was slurring her words and she was unsteady on her feet.
The defendant failed to provide a preliminary breath test
En route to custody the defendant tried to take off her seat belt whilst being uncooperative and shouting at police.
An officer leaned over to replace the seat belt and the defendant spat in the officer's face with saliva landing on the officer's forehead, nose, cheek and eye.
When the defendant was transferred to a PSNI cell van she repeatedly kicked the door and spat on the floor several times.
In custody she had an alcohol in breath reading of 90 - the legal limit is 35.
A defence barrister said when initially spoken to by police at the scene the defendant, a kitchen porter, "became distressed with the added factor that she was under the influence of alcohol and she had the limited use of English".
The lawyer added: "The defendant cites her lack of co-operation as being due to not fully understanding what was being asked of her but she contends that this sort of behaviour is totally out of character for her".
Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer asked: "She is saying her lack of English caused her to spit on the police officer?"
The lawyer said she was referring to "failing to provide a specimen".
The judge added: "English, Spanish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Russian, whatever. Everyone knows not to behave in an obnoxious way to the police. I can't imagine the language barrier is an explanation for anything beyond failing to provide the preliminary breath test".
The defence lawyer stressed she referring to the 'failing to provide'.
The barrister said when arrested the defendant was placed in handcuffs and "her anxiety heightened and her response, which she accepts was totally unjustified, was due to pain of the handcuffs on her wrists."
The lawyer said it was "not an excuse for your behaviour but it simply adds to her explanation for her inability to articulate this".
The barrister said the defendant uses medication for "nerve damage" and attends her GP for that, Court News NI can report.
In reference to a previous offence, the judge said: "That might carry more weight with me if she hadn't a history of resisting police".
The lawyer said the defendant "became so distressed" leading to a bladder incident and "her embarrassment, unfortunately, was taken out on the police which she is deeply ashamed of".
The judge said given the alcohol reading he was doubtful of the defendant's claim to have had "one bottle" of beer and the lawyer said it was "one bottle of Desperado's Beer on the way home from work".
Judge Mateer told the defendant: "You failed to cooperate with the police when they stopped you. The fact that you were unfit to drive is proved by virtue of the fact that you drove into the back of another motor vehicle.
"I am prepared to accept that because you don't understand our language that you may have failed to fully understand the requirement to provide the breath test although I would have expected the police could have explained that to you and probably did explain it to you in a way any sober person would have understood.
"That explanation doesn't extend beyond failing to provide the preliminary breath test.
"When the police tried to take you into custody you spat upon one of the police officers, something which we regard in this society as completely unacceptable and disgusting behaviour, particularly in a time of Covid where people are concerned about their own health as a result of coming into contact with other members of the public".
The judge added: "This was a disgusting series of offences. You put other members of the public at risk by driving whilst drunk.
"And when the police, who were only doing their job, came along you behaved in an atrocious and appalling way towards them".
Judge Mateer said the "proper signal" would be to send the defendant to jail but as she had only one previous court appearance he was suspending the sentence.
The defendant was given a four months prison sentence, suspended for three years; was banned from driving for two years and was fined £600.