Man waved religious statue while exposing genitals in café

A Dungiven man who assaulted a paramedic while awaiting sentence for waving a religious statue and exposing his genitalia in a city centre café last year, has been jailed after appearing at Derry Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Wednesday, 7th June 2017, 9:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th June 2017, 3:30 pm

Mark Christopher Hasson (50), of Ard Na Smol, committed the fresh offence in March when he threw a punch at an ambulance worker who was treating him in Foyle Street, the court heard.

Hasson’s defence counsel Stephen Mooney said his client was in a difficult position as the assault occurred after sentencing had been deferred in respect of a number of other offences committed last year.

These included an incident of indecent behaviour in Foyle Street in May, 2016 and an assault on a police officer in December. Hasson pleaded guilty to further charges of assaulting another ambulance worker and resisting a police officer on the Craigavon Bridge last November, although Mr. Mooney told the court that this had not been in breach of the sentencing deferral which was ordered at Derry Magistrate’s Court in January. A Public Prosection Service solicitor told the court how Hasson was arrested on May 18, 2016, at around 4pm after police received a report that he had entered a café in Foyle Street and exposed his genitals while waving a religious statue around.

When he was later interviewed Hasson said he could not remember the incident as he had consumed half a bottle of Vodka and that he generally suffered black outs when drinking, the solicitor added.

Six months later Hasson was again arrested after punching a paramedic who was treating him on the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge. The prosecuting solicitor told the court how, on December 2, police were called to another incident on Fountain Hill where Hasson was drunk and refusing to leave a house. When police arrived he was asleep on a sofa and had to be lifted out of the property by officers. However, he lay down in the street, declined offers of a taxi and became abusive towards police . In January sentencing for the Fountain Hill incident and the incident of indecent behaviour in Foyle Street was deferred until July but on March 20,2017, Hasson again threw punches at a paramedic who was trying to help him, albeit he failed to connect.

Mr. Mooney said a Probation Report referred to an incident in Hasson’s childhood that led to his self-medication with alcohol. He noted his good employment record and the fact he had managed to raise a stable family. He said it was a tragedy that Hasson found himself facing over the precipice of a custodial sentence and noted that he had spent £4,500 on addiction treatment in Donegal last year.

Hasson was sentenced to six months imprisonment in total for the offences.