A suspended sentence has been imposed upon a 30-year old man who was arrested then escaped from police custody while in hospital.
Thomas Burns was unlawfully detained for a 24-hour period in September 2021 before being arrested in a hotel in the center of Belfast.
From Summerhill Mews in Dunmurry, he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday where he was arraigned and sentenced on the same day.
He was handed a three-month sentence, which was suspended for 12 months by Judge Donna McColgan KC, after pleading guilty to a charge of escaping the lawful custody of the PSNI on September 21, 2021.
Prior to passing sentence, Judge McColgan was told by Crown barrister Andrew Crawford that on that date police had reason to arrest Burns.
He was taken to Musgrave Custody Suite and whilst there he fainted in a holding cell.
Mr Crawford said Burns was “cleaning and complaining of a sore arm” and was then taken to hospital in the company of police.
As Burns was being booked in at the hospital, he escaped from police and despite officers giving chase, Burns vaulted over a large gate and fled the scene.
Mr Crawford said he was located and arrested at a hotel in the city center the following day and during an interview, he told police he fled as he didn’t want to go back to jail.
Defense barrister John O’Connor told Judge McColgan his client was currently the subject of combination order and was engaging well with the Probation element of the order.
Mr O’Connor said Burns had “pleaded guilty at the first opportunity” to the charge and added “this has been a lesson learned.”
Noting Burns was at large for a 24-hour period, Judge McColgan imposed the suspended sentence.