Man admits spitting at police officer

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A man has admitted spitting at police after a street bust-up.

But Jason Appleton’s defence solicitor said that a stroke he suffered last year meant that he sometimes can’t control such behaviour.

Wigan magistrates heard police were called to Priory Avenue, Leigh, where Appleton was said to be “trying to start fights” with neighbours.

Prosecuting, Jiro Asafa said: “The officer spoke to the defendant and switched on his CCTV body cam. The defendant had slurred speech and was loud and verbally aggressive, threatening to assault people.

“The officer pointed out that there were a number of people present including children. However, the defendant continued his behaviour and tried to walk away when he became verbally abusive to the officer.”

After numerous failed attempts to calm Appleton down, he was arrested for a public order offence. Justices heard the 42-year-old continued to be aggressive while in the police van, repeatedly banging his head on the floor. When the officer grabbed his hand to restrain him, Appleton appeared to spit towards him.

Mrs Asafa added: “He was taken to the police station and when he arrived the custody detention officer attempted to remove his shirt to conduct a search, the defendant spat at him and it hit the officer’s body.” Appleton was again arrested for assaulting a detention officer.

Karen Schofield, defending, said Appleton’s stroke slurred his voice and that he wasn’t drunk.

“He is paralysed on his upper left side and has difficulty speaking and eating. He produced a lot of saliva and it’s difficult for him to control it. On the day in question he had drunk one can of lager. He took what he thought was a painkiller off someone else and it’s clear he has had a significant adverse reaction. He doesn’t dispute being abusive. He accepts he must have spat at the officer and it must have landed on his neck. This isn’t his normal behaviour.”

Appleton pleaded guilty to both charges and magistrates imposed a 24-month conditional discharge.