Monday 28 September 2020
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"Vile and despicable act" sees sentence extended

Tuesday 15 September 2020

"Vile and despicable act" sees sentence extended

A prisoner has more than doubled his length of imprisonment after deliberately coughing in the face of a prison officer, who had to undergo tests for a number of different illnesses, including hepatitis.

Sean Allen, 37, was already serving a six month prison sentence for racial abusing three men and assaulting a police officer in June.

On 1 July, whilst serving his time, he went to get his medication from one of the prison officers. Following routine, she asked him to open his mouth so she could be sure he had taken his tablet and wasn't hiding it.

She told him that she wasn't able to see under his tongue, to which he responded that he had an ulcer and began to walk away.

He was stopped and asked to drink some more water, but refused and went on to false cough into the officer's face multiple times.

Later that day he admitted the offence on a phone call, adding "she's lucky I didn't spit in her face".

Phone, old phone, pay phone, prison phone

Pictured: The defendant admitted the assault during a phone call.

Following the incident, the prison officer wiped her face with an alcohol wipe and had to undergo tests for a number of different illnesses, including hepatitis. The results came back clear.

"I felt dirty," she said. "I would rather have been punched."

In his mitigation, Advocate Sam Steel told the court that Allen had been "struggling with his mental health in prison".

"[The prison officer] did not contract any illness or disease and the most recent case [of covid-19] before this offence was 27 May," he added.

"My client does appreciate that prison officers have a difficult enough job to do without him and others like him making it harder."

coronavirus test covid-19

Pictured: Guernsey was thought to be covid-free at the time of the incident.

However, Judge Graeme McKerrell pointed out that some people with covid-19 can be asymptomatic and may not be recorded as a case.

"The fact that there may have been no physical harm does not negate the emotional and psychological harm [the prison officer] did suffer," he said in sentencing. "This was a vile and despicable act against a public servant."

Allen was sentenced to an extra nine months in prison, which will run consecutively to his current sentence.


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