A Cameroonian woman who attacked a police worker after being disorderly in a Belfast hotel claims she had just been raped, a court has heard. The 24-year-old, who cannot be identified, was arrested following a bout of aggression in the city on Monday.
She received a 12-month conditional discharge after a judge was told she is now facing deportation to Dublin. At Belfast Magistrates’ Court the woman pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, possessing cannabis and assault on a police designated person. Prosecutors said she had gone into Malmaison Hotel in the city centre and stated shouting abuse at staff and guests.
Police removed her from the premises, where she had not been staying as a guest. The woman was taken into custody where a grinder containing herbal cannabis was located on her. During a process to obtain a DNA sample she stuck a long fingernail into the arm of a female detention officer.
A defence lawyer told the court: “(She said) that yesterday she was the victim of a rape, that led to her behaviour escalating.” It is understood that the alleged sexual assault did not occur at the hotel. District Judge Fiona Bagnall also heard the defendant suffers from catatonia – a neurological disorder that can manifest in periods of stupor. “She does apologise to the court and the police officer involved,” her lawyer added.
The defendant, who is from Cameroon, has family in Dublin. Based on her clear record, and the deportation proceedings, Mrs Bagnall imposed a conditional discharge. “She had had one night in custody,” the judge noted.