Rugby man headbutted police officer after drugs arrest

The case was heard at Warwick Crown Court, which sits at the Justice Centre in Leamington
The case was heard at Warwick Crown Court, which sits at the Justice Centre in Leamington

A man who had been arrested for growing cannabis at his Rugby home bit one police officer and headbutted another after refusing to leave his cell to be taken to court.

But when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court to be sentenced Brian James escaped being jailed – because of the time he had already spent in custody.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to producing cannabis, resisting a constable in the execution of his duty, causing criminal damage and two charges of assaulting police officers.

James, 46, of Allesley Road, Rugby, who had been in custody for seven weeks, was given a community sentence with 12 months supervision and was ordered to take part in a drug rehabilitation programme.

He was also fined £50 and ordered to pay £150 compensation to one of the officers he assaulted and £394 to the other, whose glasses he also smashed.

Prosecutor Gary Cook said that in June the fire brigade and police attended James’ flat after reports of a fire. James was abusive to the police, telling them they were not entitled to go in – and when they then checked the flat they found he had converted one of the bedrooms for growing cannabis. Officers seized 32 plants and £300 in £20 notes.

James, whose previous convictions included one in 2012 for producing cannabis, was arrested and kept in custody overnight.

But when officers went to get him the following morning to take him to court, he refused to leave his cell and began to struggle with them.

During the tussle as he resisted attempts to get him out of the cell, Pc Peter Cowley’s spectacles were broken and James bit Pc Scott McKeown’s leg. After they got him out of the cell he was taken to the charge office where he suddenly lunged forward and headbutted Pc Cowley.

When he was later interviewed James complained that he had been unhappy about his treatment in custody because he had been deprived of sleep and had not been fed.

Kevin Saunders, defending, said James had grown up with feelings of low self-worth, and had lost an eye during an unprovoked attack when he was 22.

Mr Saunders said that if James, who used cannabis to ease the pain caused by his injury, was jailed he would lose his work as a self-employed electrician and his accommodation as well.