A Maghera teenager who attempted to lick a female constable’s face, was placed on probation for 18 months at Magherafelt Magistrates Court.
Joe O’Kane, 19, with an address at Carnfinton Park, Rasharkin, was also ordered to carry out 60 hours of community service.
O’Kane admitted assaulting two police officers, disorderly behaviour and stealing three bottles of alcohol relating to incidents in Maghera on January 3 and February 13 this year.
Imposing the combination order, District Judge Alan White told O’Kane that probation may help him to “get to grips” with his alcohol problem.
“Drinking appears to be at the centre of your problems,” the judge remarked.
A prosecuting lawyer said on February 13 last around 11.15pm police observed an incident outside a hotel in which the defendant, who was “highly intoxicated”, was pushing door staff.
He was spoken to and told to calm down and he went away only to return a short time later and become confrontational with police, attempting to push past them.
The barrister said police told the defendant to leave but he continued pushing and struck out, striking an officer on the chest.
While he was being taken to a police vehicle, he grabbed a female officer by the protective vest and attempted to lick her face but she pushed him away.
Continuing, the lawyer said on January 3 police found O’Kane lying on the ground at Coleraine Road in a highly intoxicated state.
She said the defendant had three bottles of spirits he could not account for at the time, but subsequent enquiries and CCTV evidence showed that they had been taken from a local hotel.
A defence barrister said at the time of the offences O’Kane had been drinking every day.
He pointed out that defendant had now moved away from Maghera and the people he would have been drinking with, to live with his father who is an alcoholic.
The lawyer admitted it was strange move but said it appeared to be working as the defendant had only drank three or four times since the incidents and does not want to end up like his father.
“He at least appears to be taking steps to address these matters,” said the barrister, who pointed out that O’Kane had been barred from the hotel and cannot go back.
He told the court that the three bottles of spirits had been returned to the hotel bar.
Defence counsel added that the police officers had been understanding and given the defendant every opportunity to cooperate and calm down, but he was so intoxicated that he did not avail of the chances provided by the officers.