A male who left a police officer needing reconstructive surgery has been spared an immediate prison sentence after telling a judge he ‘has completely given up alcohol’.
The decision to spare the male a custodial sentence has left many police officers feeling completely let down by the very same system that they put their lives on the line to protect and serve.
During the case, presiding Judge Richard Gioserano told Shaun Kelly that he remained “sceptical” about the assertion made in his ‘defence’ but opted to give him a chance to prove himself rather than sending him to prison for a short time.
And yet, the police officer who was seriously injured during the incident now has to live with the emotional and physical scars after what happened to him for the rest of his life.
Kelly, aged 35, of Montserrat Road, Johnson Fold, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to PC Craig Rimmer, who had just been trying to help him.
Bolton Crown Court heard that Kelly, who has a history of violence, has attacked police officers before having consumed alcohol in booze-fuelled violent outbursts.
But Michael James, defending, said he now cares for his mother, who has a brain tumour and his father, who has mental health issues and so has stopped drinking.
“His family situation has become such that he has to put them first,” said Mr James.
Simon Barrett, prosecuting, told the court how police were called to the Montserrat Road address on July 18
But as Kelly was being transported to the police station in a police van, officers noticed that he had tied a shoelace around his own neck.
Officers immediately stopped the vehicle on Moss Bank Way and tried to restrain Kelly in order to remove the shoelace from around his neck, but he kicked out at PC Rimmer, hitting him repeatedly in the legs and chest until the officer fell backwards and his right knee gave way.
Mr Barrett said the officer was left in “excruciating pain” with ruptured ligaments in his right knee and a torn cartilage.
PC Rimmer now faces reconstructive surgery and has not been able to fully resume his duties since the ordeal.
The court heard that Kelly has committed offences against police officers on at least four previous occasions, including one time when he ran towards officers brandishing a knife.
“His record does him no service but he has indicated, despite Your Honour’s scepticism, that he’s made progress with the underlying factors in this case, namely his use of alcohol,” Mr James told Judge Gioserano.
Sentencing him to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, the judge told Kelly:
“For whatever reason, you have had a long-standing drink problem and anger management issues and other people have paid the price for that.
“In particular, it seems to me, you have made a habit of taking your anger out on police.
“They are blameless, of course.
“PC Rimmer ended up with a very unpleasant injury indeed.”
But he added: “I am prepared to accept you’ve got on top of the drinking for the moment.
“With that comes an opportunity which has not been there before.”
He added that the public would be best served by Kelly working with the probation service to ensure his behaviour continues to change for the better rather than serve a relatively short custodial sentence.
As part of his sentence Kelly was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, undertake 25 days of rehabilitation activities and participate in an alcohol treatment programme.
Judge Gioserano added that he hopes PC Rimmer obtains compensation for his injuries.
But this case has highlighted that many officers feel that their own personal safety should not be compromised just so that violent offenders can be given ‘second chances’ – especially in cases where the offended has previously been violent towards the emergency services.
Police officers increasingly feel that alcohol is used simply as an excuse by individuals who are presented before the courts having assaulted a member of the emergency services.
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