Man who removed tag jailed for assaulting police


A Belfast man who assaulted and obstructed police after being arrested for removing a tag has been handed a seven-month prison sentence.

Patrick O’Rawe, from Albert Street, appeared at Belfast Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to three offences arising from the removal of a tag he was ordered to wear as part of bail conditions linked to a separate offence.

The court heard that O’Rawe, 23, both assaulted and obstructed police after he overdosed on painkillers which he was prescribed after his brother stabbed him with a fork.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Purvis said O’Rawe – who has 67 previous convictions – came to police attention last November after a report was received that he had removed his tag and was therefore in breach of bail.

He was arrested and taken to Musgrave Street PSNI station, and on the journey to the station it was noted that O’Rawe was acting erratically and appeared to be unwell.

After he vomited in a holding cell, O’Rawe was taken to the A&E department at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

At around 1am on November 24 last year, it was reported that O’Rawe was being verbally abusive to police, and at one stage he kicked an officer to the face. At this point, O’Rawe was restrained and when he calmed down, the restraints were removed.

Mr Purvis said that around 4am, both officers who were at the hospital with O’Rawe were “detained doing other matters” including waiting on O’Rawe’s blood results. When they returned to the cubicle where O’Rawe had been sleeping, they discovered he had left and had “run out of A&E”.

Revealing that O’Rawe was arrested later that day and has been in custody since, Mr Purvis said the damage to the tag amounted to £123.

Defence barrister Sean O’Hare spoke of O’Rawe’s troubled background which included a traumatic incident when he was 14 which resulted in “difficulties in him finding inner peace”.

Revealing O’Rawe abused both drink and drugs, Mr O’Hare said that prior to being arrested for removing his tag, O’Rawe had been in a fight with his brother, was stabbed with a fork and was given painkillers for the injury.

O’Rawe then took all the painkillers at once, with Mr O’Hare pointing out that when he committed the offences against the police, his client was under the influence of drugs and was unfit to be detained at the police station.

Passing sentence, Judge Gordon Kerr QC said: “Police officers who are performing their duties are entitled to protection from the courts.”

O’Rawe was handed a three-month sentence for assaulting police, a consecutive four-month sentence for damaging the tag, with an additional one-month concurrent sentence for obstructing police.