copy by Alan Erwin, Laganside media
A Belfast man allegedly coughed in the faces of two police officers and declared that he had Covid-19, a court heard today.
Brendan Walker is accused of targeting the pair as he was arrested on Wednesday for suspected episodes of domestic violence.
The 39-year-old, of Clanmorris Street in the north of the city, claims any coughing was due to his asthma and a chest infection.
He appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with two counts of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on the officers.
Police went to detain him following allegations that he had attacked his partner on two separate occasions this week.
She claimed that she suffered a miscarriage due to being pushed over on Monday, the court heard.
Walker then allegedly shoved her against a wardrobe at their home a day later.
A PSNI officer contended: "When he was arrested he stated that he had coronavirus and continued to cough into the faces of (the two constables) from a distance of less than one metre."
It was confirmed that Walker, who also faces two counts of common assault, is not currently known to have Covid-19.
Defence lawyer Eoghan McKenna stressed his client denies the charges.
He told the court the accused has suffered severe asthma from the age of 11, and had also picked up a suspected chest infection.
The couple were self-isolating as a precaution when police arrived, according to the solicitor.
Mr McKenna argued that Walker's medical condition caused him to react when put in a mask during the arrest operation.
"He pulled the mask off because he was distressed by his breathing and started to cough," the lawyer said.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall was also told there is currently no medical evidence that the accused's partner had been pregnant.
Granting bail to live under curfew at at address to be approved by police, Mrs Bagnall banned Walker from any contact with the woman.
He is due to appear back in court in four weeks time.