Judge says public employees need protection after assault

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A judge said a Translink employee who was punched on the side of the face by a passenger did not deserve to be attacked and people serving the public have to be protected by the courts.

Judge Peter King was speaking at Coleraine Magistrates Court last Monday when it was heard the employee was struck at Coleraine Bus Station two days earlier.

Philip Edward McDonald (28), of Causeway Street, Portrush, admitted assaulting the employee and further charges of disorderly behaviour and a charge of assault on a police officer, who was spat at by the defendant.

A prosecutor said a woman alleged McDonald had tampered with a ticket machine, which turned out not to be the case, but McDonald then ran at a staff member with his fists clenched and made contact with the employee’s jaw and chest. Defence solicitor Fergus McIntosh said the defendant had acted “completely out of character”

Judge King also said the spitting was “disgusting” as he imposed a four months sentence, suspended for three years and ordered him to pay £250 compensation.