Coronavirus: Man in court over 'purposely coughing' on police officers and claiming to have COVID-19

Matilda Long
·2 min read
Laganside Court in Belfast. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 3, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
Laganside Court in Belfast. (PA Images via Getty Images)

A 39-year-old Belfast man has been released on bail after denying he had “purposely coughed” in the faces of two police officers and claimed to have COVID-19.

Brendan Walker, of Clanmorris Street, is accused of two counts of attempted grievous bodily harm and two counts of common assault.

He appeared in the dock of Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, where he denied all the charges.

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The court heard that two Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) constables went to arrest Walker on Wednesday following allegations that he had assaulted his partner on Monday and Tuesday.

She claimed that, in one incident, he pushed her over, causing her to suffer a miscarriage.

Walker’s defence lawyer contended there is no evidence that she was pregnant.

A PSNI officer told the court: “When he was arrested he stated that he had coronavirus and continued to cough into the faces of (the two constables) from a distance of less than one metre.”

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) patrol car equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in Belfast.
A Belfast man has been charged after coughing on police officers and claiming to have COVID-19. (PA Images)

It was confirmed that Walker is not currently known to have coronavirus.

His lawyer said the couple had been self-isolating because Walker has asthma and a suspected chest infection, adding that he had become distressed when placed in a mask, pulling it off and coughing because of his difficulty in breathing.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted bail to an address to be approved by police.

Walker must abide by a curfew and is banned from contacting his partner.

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