Swadlincote man convicted of police snowball assault

A man has been convicted of common assault for throwing a snowball at a police community support officer.

Dean Smith was shopping with his family in Swadlincote in December when the snowball hit Claire North.

He was given a 14-day curfew and told to pay £85 costs after admitting the charge at Derby Magistrates' Court.

The 31-year-old's solicitor said the case should never have been brought, but the prosecution argued that he had a grudge against the PCSO.

The snowball hit Ms North's police radio - which was on her chest - on the afternoon of 2 December, the court heard.

'Not trivial'

Smith, of Swadlincote, was arrested several days afterwards, questioned and charged.

He and his solicitor Stephen Chittenden have both criticised the cost of bringing the case to court, arguing the matter should have been settled with a caution.

Smith described it as a "waste of money" at a time when police forces were making cutbacks.

"Maybe if they spent a little less time taking people to court for throwing snowballs then they'd have a bit more money to spend," he said.

He added: "I've spoken to police officers who've said, 'you'd get one back if you threw one at me'.

"I'll have to be careful when I'm picking my nose in future - I'll get done for littering if I flick it on the floor."

Electronic tag

A spokesperson for CPS Derbyshire said: "It was the prosecution's case that this was not a trivial, playful act of throwing a snowball as a joke but that it was thrown deliberately and aggressively to satisfy a grudge held by Mr Smith against the victim.

"The CPS considered an alternative to prosecution such as a conditional caution but decided this was not appropriate due to Mr Smith's previous convictions, including assault and obstructing a police officer.

"It appeared that diverting Mr Smith from court would not address his behaviour in a way that was likely to prevent future offending."

Derbyshire Police said they regarded the incident as an assault and said they were pleased the case was heard in court.

Under the terms of his curfew, Smith must wear an electronic tag and stay at home between 7pm and 7am for the next two weeks.

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