A Mansfield-based police officer told a court he feared for his health after he had been allegedly assaulted at a flat by a mentally-ill man.
PC Andy Sansom was “in a state of distress” after he sustained cuts and grazes in the clash, and spit accidentally flew into his face as he was shouted at by the man.
“I was pretty shaken,” he admitted at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court. “It became apparent that he had a medical condition that may be transferrable through spit and blood.”
Once the man had been detained, PC Sansom rushed to accident and emergency and was given the all-clear.
The scare arose from a 999 call-out to a domestic incident at the flat on Holgate Walk, Hucknall on January 16 last year.
32-year-old Liam Nunes, was living at the flat with his 60-year-old mother, Christine Nunes, and the pair had rowed about a bottle of vodka.
When he arrived with a fellow officer, PC Sansom took Mr Nunes into his bedroom, where he told him he was going to remove him from the property for a cooling off period.
Mr Nunes and his mother both got angry at this, particularly as Mr Nunes had just told the officer he was suffering from depression.
The situation got out of hand with emotions running high.
PC Sansom told the court: “I believed I was in danger of being assaulted.”
The officer tried to put Mr Nunes in handcuffs and there was a tussle on the floor,
Mr Nunes was charged with assaulting PC Sansom in the execution of his duty, while his mother was charged with assaulting both officers in the execution of their duty.
However, they pleaded not guilty and, after an all-day trial, they were acquitted on a technicality because the two officers were found not to have acted lawfully in their duty.
It could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that PC Sansom told Mr Nunes he was formally under arrest.
Abigail Hill, prosecuting, said the officers “dealt with things in a calm manner” and “had reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of the peace would occur”.
But both defending solicitors claimed the officers did not handle the furore “within mandatory legal parameters” and should have shown more flexibility considering Mr Nunes was mentally ill.
For Mr Nunes, Bill Soughton, defending, said: “PC Sansom’s detention of Mr Nunes was illegal. He handcuffed a vulnerable adult without any explanation.”