A 34-year-old man who assaulted a female police officer on his stag do in Omagh appeared in court the day after his wedding to face the charge.
Norman Bell, of Bartleys wood, Ballywater, Newtownards had been on his stag party with friends in Omagh town centre when the incident took place and appeared in Enniskillen Magistrate’s Court the day after his wedding in Kildare.
The prosecutor told the court that on Saturday March 24 at around 2.55am police officers were on mobile patrol in Omagh town centre and were alerted to a fight in a pizza shop opposite Sally’s nightclub.
After initially given a verbal warning to the pair involved in the fight the officers then tried to break up the fight.
In the process a female police officer was struck on the left temple by the defendant.
The police officer then turned towards the defendant who shouted “F*** you, f*** you” before striking the officer again, this time to the side of her mouth.
Bell was then taken out of the shop by officers, arrested and formally cautioned for the offence.
When interviewed afterwards the defendant was unable to remember the assault.
Photos of the injuries sustained by the police officer in the attack were shown to the district judge in court. The defence solicitor explained that the defendant was embarrassed by what had happened and that he had already sent a letter of apology to the officer.
The defence told the court that Bell had no previous record and told him that he had punched somebody, but did not realise it was a police officer. When he discovered this his next step was to contact his solicitor and send a letter to the injured party.
The court heard this was a one-off incident and the defendant was an “upstanding member of the community” who would never appear before the courts again.
In fact due to the unsavoury incidents of the night in question and the seriousness to which the defendant viewed the charges it had been a ‘dry wedding’.
District Judge Nigel Broderick took into account the defendant’s record and letter of apology and accepted that he did not realise the injured party was a police officer.
Taking all this into consideration and noting Bell’s “genuine remorse” the judge imposed a £250 fine and ordered him to pay £500 by way of compensation to the injured officer.