‘Wheelchair saved disabled man from jail’ - says judge

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A judge has told a disabled man who assaulted two police officers his wheelchair is the only thing saving him from jail.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 33-year-old Thomas Scarlet received a suspended jail term.

The 33-year-old of Ballynagard Crescent, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, assault on police and being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in his system on August 16, last year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard police found Scarlet in the front seat of his car and they carried out a preliminary breath test which he failed.

Scarlet refused to get out of the car and punched a police officer before grabbing the arm of a scond officer.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said the 33-year-old has “never come to terms with the fact that he is left in a wheelchair” and over-indulged in alcohol as a result.

Suspending a four month jail term for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm said Scarlet had “a problem with his manners” and one of the comments he made during the incident “is a mark of an ignoramus”.

The juge also ordered Scarlet to pay a £500 fine and £250 compensation to each of the police officers.