Man bit and kicked police in attack fuelled by cocktail of pills

A man who bit and kicked police officers during a “drug-induced episode” in a Belfast hospital has been jailed for five months.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 2:05 pm
Laganside court complex in Belfast city centre.

Daniel Rhodes also spat at a civilian member of the force after being detained for the violent outburst.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard the 25-year-old claims he was hearing voices at the time of the attack. Rhodes admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of assault on police, disorderly behaviour and assault on a police designated person.

Officers called to his hostel in the north of the city on April 13 took him to the Royal Victoria Hospital due to concerns about his condition.

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Prosecutors said Rhodes began punching walls after being told how long he would have to wait for treatment.

“When police intervened to prevent him injuring himself he assaulted two officers by kicking, punching and biting,” a Crown lawyer said.

Rhodes was then taken into custody, where he spat at the civilian detention officer.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott described it as a “very unsavoury incident” fuelled by a cocktail of Diazepam and Xanax pills.

“He was waiting for medical help and said that he began to hear voices,” Mr MacDermott said. Based on an assessment carried out on his client, the solicitor contended: “He experienced a drug-induced episode.

“He lost control and has little recollection of what happened after that.”

The court heard police had been trying to assist Rhodes by getting him food from a hospital vending machine.

Imposing five months imprisonment Deputy District Judge Liam McStay told Rhodes: “A custodial sentence is inevitable.”