Alleged knifeman coughed at police

A man allegedly brandished a knife and coughed at police officers after declaring he had Covid-19, a court heard today.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 12:01 pm
Laganside court complex in Belfast city centre.

Ahmed Buuni is also accused of threatening to kill two Turkish neighbours at their flats in south Belfast. But the 43-year-old defendant, a Somali national, claims he was the one attacked and robbed by suspected cocaine dealers.

Buuni faces charges of attempted grievous bodily harm, threats to kill, possessing an offensive weapon, criminal damage, common assault and assault on police.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court was told he allegedly approached the complainants with a large knife at the Claremont Street property on February 3. “Fearing he would attack them they locked themselves in their room,” a Crown lawyer said.

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PSNI officers called to the scene discovered Buuni on the stairs. The prosecutor contended: “He approached police with the knife, putting them in fear, however he dropped it when challenged.

“He was restrained... but informed police that he had Covid symptoms and began coughing directly at the officers.”

During a bail application defence counsel John O’Connor set out counter-claims that Turkish men living above Buuni were dealing cocaine. “These Turkish nationals entered the applicant’s home with a knife, assaulted him and stole £40,” the barrister alleged.

“He managed to take the knife off them, they fled and called police.”

Judge Peter Prenter was told Buuni is an asylum seeker who arrived in Ireland nearly 20 years ago. Granting bail for the accused to live at another address in the city, Mr Prenter barred him from returning to Claremont Street.