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'I hope you catch Covid' – man's sick comment after spitting at police officer

By Court Reporter

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A young man who was resisting arrest spat on a police officer before telling him he hoped he would catch Covid-19.

The chilling comment was condemned as "disgusting" and "wholly inappropriate" by Sheriff Andrew Berry, who jailed Kyle Miller for nine months.

Miller (21) admitted a charge of assault and one of abusive behaviour, on indictment, and a record.

Sheriff Andrew Berry said there must be serious consequences for such behaviour.
Sheriff Andrew Berry said there must be serious consequences for such behaviour.

Wick Sheriff Court heard on Tuesday that police officers were tasked to an incident at a house in the town’s Glamis Road, on April 18, last year, following a report that a man had taken a drug overdose.

Fiscal Pauline Gair said that officers located Miller slumped over a chair. They were told that he had taken a cocktail of drugs and a litre of vodka.

The police took Miller to Caithness General Hospital where he ended up on the floor in a cubicle, shouting and swearing and flailing his arms and legs as the officers attempted to bring him under control.

Miss Gair said: “Miller was escorted from the cubicle and continued to shout and swear while being taken to a police van. He made offensive comments to Constable Leanne Fraser.

"As the accused was being placed in the rear of the police van, he repeatedly kicked Constable Lee Milner on the body and spat on his head with the comment – 'I hope you catch Covid 19'."

The fiscal added that while Constable Milner didn’t require medical attention, the incident was naturally worrying for him and his family. Miller was taken to Wick Police Station where a doctor concluded he was fit to be detained.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald said that Miller, of Hill Avenue, Wick, was "shocked" and "disgusted" by his actions towards the police officers, particularly in relation to the spitting incident.

She added: “He fully accepts that a prison sentence is inevitable but would be prepared to accept help to address the issues in his life.”

Sheriff Berry, who saw a background report, referred to the "intensity" of Miller’s behaviour – “made worse” by the comments he made to Constable Fraser and Constable Milner when he spat on him.

The sheriff told Miller: “Police officers and others in the frontline – nurses, doctors, and paramedics – endeavouring to help people, face this type of behaviour every day.

"Unless it is made clear that it will be seriously dealt with, you and others will think they can abuse them without there being serious consequences. Both officers will remember your actions for a very long time.”

Sheriff Berry made the point so far as the suggested non-custodial sentencing alternative was concerned, that Miller had failed to co-operate with court orders imposed previously.

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