Homeless man found guilty of assaulting police officer on court steps in Portsmouth

Thomas Barrett is removed in a drunken state from Portsmouth Magistrates' Court steps this morning
Thomas Barrett is removed in a drunken state from Portsmouth Magistrates' Court steps this morning

Man jailed for assault after spitting at a police officer

  • Man found guilty of assaulting police officer on crown court steps
  • Trial takes place in his absence – because he is passed out on magistrates’ court steps
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AN ALCOHOLIC has been convicted of assaulting a police officer on the steps of Portsmouth Crown Court.

And the trial of Thomas Barrett was held this morning while he was passed out on the steps of the city’s magistrates’ court.

Barrett, who lives in the streets, turned up for his trial an hour early at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court but was left slumped in front of the doors clutching a bottle of whisky.

When he couldn’t come into the building magistrates ruled they would hear his trial in his absence.

Asked by magistrates if Barrett was coming into court, prosecutor Alicia Keen said: ‘He’s not fit, I know he’s not fit, I stepped over him.’

Rhys Evans, defending, had asked magistrates to adjourn but the bench refused.

PC Caroline Burton told the bench how she had been dispatched to the 57-year-old after he was spotted on the second step down outside Portsmouth Crown Court on August 10 at about midday.

She went to speak to him with a PCSO but was subjected to a ‘torrent of abuse,’ she said giving evidence.

‘I was crouched down on the balls of my feet,’ PC Burton said.

‘He was on the second step down, I was on the top step.

‘At that point he then pushed out with his right arm and it caught me in my chest.’

She added: ‘There wasn’t much amount of force but the fact that I was crouched down on the balls of my feet it caused me to go backwards.

‘It caused me to grab hold of his sleeves to stop me falling backwards.

‘I’d given him a number of chances to move on however I arrested him for assault police and section five for the swearing.’

Barrett had earlier admitted drunk and disorderly over the incident.

The court heard Barrett has a string of drunk and disorderly convictions, and had previously assaulted a PC.

Barrett has paranoid schizophrenia, lost his recent accommodation and is ‘beyond probation involvement’.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Nick Wells said: ‘Whilst we have sympathy for Mr Barrett’s position, the courts can’t tolerate assaults on a police officer either.’

Barrett must pay £100 compensation to PC Burton.