A Banbridge man who spat in the face of a porter at Craigavon Area Hospital has been ordered to pay him £300 compensation.
Joseph Mark Baird (36), of Brookfield Park, admitted assault and disorderly behaviour on January 5 this year when he appeared last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.
For each offence he was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay the injured party £300 compensation.
The court heard that police received a report that the defendant, who was being treated at the hospital, had assaulted a member of staff by spitting in his face.
The defendant had said he felt suicidal but had walked out of a cubicle in the hospital although the doctor said he should remain.
He was located about 50 metres from the building and when he was approached he tried to punch the injured party but missed.
The injured party and other staff brought Baird back to the hospital and on the short walk back he spat in the face of the porter.
Baird said he had been brought to the hospital by Banbridge police and all he remembered was walking out of the hospital.
He remembered spitting but he did not know where he was spitting.
He apologised for his behaviour.
A solicitor for Baird said he had a suspended sentence hanging over him for a similar issue.
He explained that Lifeline had contacted police and when they attended he resisted several police officers.
The solicitor said Baird had mental health difficulties and was regarded as a vulnerable member of the community.
District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said an aggravating feature was that this happened in a hospital.
Judge Bates told Baird he had put himself in a very difficult position because he was not suitable for a community disposal and that the court took very seriously abuse of hospital staff who were trying to do their duty.