A man convicted of assaulting a stranger and a police officer in Huddersfield town centre after taking a ‘legal high’ was jailed for 12 weeks – though the court was told he would be released within hours.
Simon Richard Spencer was locked up after a trial at Kirklees Magistrates Court where he did not appear and no evidence was given on his behalf.
He had already been in custody for seven weeks over the allegations, but that had been at his own insistence and he had refused to co-operate over the court proceedings, District Judge Michael Fanning was told.
Spencer, of Moorbottom Road, 42, Thornton Lodge, had denied assaulting Mohammed Zada and then assaulting PC Nathan Stone, who had been called to the incident on June 27.
The court was told Mr Zada had been hit in the jaw by a man who was a stranger during an unprovoked incident, with the offender then walking off quickly in a manner which suggested he had taken drugs.
Prosecutor Robert Campbell said PC Stone had been directed to the scene by colleagues following the suspect – who had been pushing and shoving people in the town centre – to Byram Street, where he saw Spencer.
In a statement, the officer said: “He wasn’t making much sense. He was quoting words of a religious nature. He poked me twice, with force, in the chest.”
At that point he was handcuffed and during the incident bystanders approached to identify Spencer as the man responsible for pushing and shoving them, including Mr Zada who identified him as being responsible for the assault.
When interviewed he told police he had left a police station earlier that day and then taken a ‘legal high’ called Spice but denied assaulting the officer.
The District Judge sentenced Spencer to 12 weeks custody in a hearing on Friday but said that would mean him being released within hours because he had already served the equivalent of a 14 weeks term.
His sentence was based on the fact the assault on Mr Zada was “unprovoked and resulted in a significant injury.”
“Mr Spencer won’t come to court and co-operate with the reports intended to help him,” he said.
There was no separate penalty for assaulting the officer and the District Judge declined to make a compensation order because Spencer had no means to pay, but a £115 surcharge was imposed.
Mr Campbell told the court that the difficulty for the prison service might be getting Spencer out of custody.
He had been detained largely at his own request, the court had been told.