Suspended term for biting officer

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

A woman who bit a female police officer - which required her to be tested for HIV - was given a prison sentence last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

And it was only suspended on the basis that the defendant did not return to Northern Ireland.

Joanne Molloy (32) whose address at the time was Beech Meadows, Waringstown, was charged with two assaults on females occasioning them actual bodily harm.

She was also accused of two assaults on police.

For each of the offences she was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years.

The court heard that on July 24, 2013, at approximately 6.25pm a male and a female waved down a police mobile patrol in Edward Street in Lurgan.

The injured party alleged she had been approached by a female who was aggressive and snatched her mobile phone from her. The attacker then grabbed her by the hair and scratched her.

Molloy was stopped by police in High Street and she said: “We done nothing wrong.”

In the custody suite she was verbally aggressive and lunged towards an officer.

She was swinging her arms and kicked out her legs towards officers and one received a bite on the thumb.

When interviewed she said she was drunk and couldn’t remember the circumstances of her arrest.

Defence barrister Damien Halloran said his client had been convicted in her absence in Craigavon court after she had absented herself from the jurisdiction.

He added that at Ennis court she had been put on probation for an assault but there was nothing outstanding since July 2104.

“She accepts that her behaviour in Lurgan was outrageous,” added Mr Halloran. “She hasn’t had a drink in five and a half years or any illegal substances.”

He explained that she had come to this jurisdiction with a partner, there was domestic violence involved and she ended the relationship.

Mr Halloran handed in a number of testimonials on her behalf and added that she was now working as a dental nurse.

“This lady has completely turned her life around,” he added.

He said she had challenged extradition proceedings but this was not successful and she had been in custody since Monday.

Mr Halloran said her father had died and his funeral was on Thursday so all she wanted was to get back to bury her father and look after her children.

He asked the court to consider leaving something hanging over the defendant.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said that in the middle of all this Molloy had not given any thought to the permanency of the injury inflicted on one of the officers due to her ‘drink and drug fuelled’ state.

She added that the female officer she bit had to be HIV tested which meant she had to declare that to any insurance company even if it came back negative.

Mr Halloran said there was a relative of the defendant in court and £260 was available.

Imposing the suspended sentence Judge Kelly told Molloy this was on the basis that she would never darken the six counties in her life.

She added that she could not ask for compensation for the officer because she was thinking in terms of thousands.