CPS uses new technology as offender jailed for three months for attempting to deliberately infect police officers with COVID-19

|News, Violent crime

The Crown Prosecution Service continues to bring criminal charges against people who attempt to deliberately infect emergency workers.

The CPS is using new technology to deliver justice. In one of the first trials using remote video links, a man has been sentenced for attempting to deliberately infect police officers.

Witnesses gave evidence from their homes and from Gablecross police station in Swindon. CCTV footage was also shown using the video links.

Matthew Brown, 32, who faced three charges of assault and one charge of harassment was sentenced at Swindon Magistrates' Court on 14 May.

Brown had previously admitted harassment and yesterday was found guilty of assaulting an emergency worker. Brown received a three-month prison sentence and ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge.

Joanne Jakymec, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said “Anyone who deliberately attempts or threatens to infect emergency workers could face up to 12 months in prison.

“I am very proud that my team have been one of the first in the country to prosecute such an assault using new technology.

"The public should be confident that justice continues to be delivered and we are committed to protecting the public and our heroic emergency workers.”

Brown was arrested on 27 March on suspicion of breaching a restraining order. He was taken to Gablecross Police station by Wiltshire Police.

Whilst in the police van, Brown claimed he had coronavirus and repeatedly coughed.

Furthermore, whilst at the station, Brown told officers again that he had coronavirus and blew heavily with intent to infect them.

Ben Worthington, of CPS Wessex, said “The CPS and our police partners take these attacks very seriously. Emergency workers are performing a vital role; they are risking their own lives to keep us safe.

"They deserve to be able to carry out their role without fear of deliberate infection. Have no doubt that we will seek to prosecute anyone charged with such an offence.”

Notes to editors

  • CPS Wessex, HMCTS and Wiltshire Police used ‘Cloud Video Platform’ to hear evidence from witnesses
  • Matthew Brown from Stratton, Wiltshire was sentenced to a total of 12 weeks for assault.
  • Three charges of Common Assault of an Emergency Worker - three separate individuals. Found guilty on one charge.
  • One charge of Harassment - breach of a restraining order. Pled guilty and was sentenced to 20 weeks on 30 April.
  • Ben Worthington is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex.

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