Two young drunk Scotsmen ran amok in Aberystwyth town centre, a court has heard.
Connell Bonnar and Joshua Robb ended up being chased through the streets of the town by police with one of them eventually found hiding in the toilets of a KFC branch.
During the incident a Good Samaritan who stepped in to try to help the police was attacked and abused for being a Catholic.
Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said an “intoxicated and loud” Bonnar stood close to the female officer who responded to the call “invading her personal space” and poking a finger at her face.
The officer told Bonnar to back off and stop shouting but his behaviour continued and he repeatedly told her to “f*** off”.
The court heard the officer told the defendant he was going to be arrested at which point both he and Robb ran away.
Mr Scapens said as police chased the pair through the streets a member of the public saw what was happening and tried to stop them. Bonnar and Rob responded by repeatedly punching and kicking him to the head and body. Bonnar also directed anti-Catholic abuse at the man and called him a “Bible basher”.
The court heard the pair were tracked down to Terrace Row where Bonnar was taken to the floor and arrested and Robb was found hiding in the upstairs toilets of a KFC.
The prosecutor said the man the pair assaulted suffered bruising and tenderness to his arms, neck and chest, and underwent an X-ray at Bronglais Hospital to check for possible fractured ribs. The self-employed gardener was off work for five weeks as a result of the attack.
Bonnar, aged 21, of Hunters Quay holiday village, Sandbank, Dunoon, Scotland, admitted racially or religiously aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), a public order offence, obstructing a PC, and assaulting a PC. Robb, aged 22, of Poplar Street, Grangemouth, Falkirk, Scotland, admitted ABH and assaulting an emergency worker.
Bonnar has one previous conviction for four offences, including motoring and public order matters, while Robb has no previous convictions.
Stephen Rees, for Bonnar, and John Hipkin QC for Robb invited the court to follow the recommendations of pre-sentence reports.
Judge Geraint Walters described the events as “outrageous” and said the actions of the pair followed a “heavy drinking session” in the town. He said police were there to protect the public while a member of the public who went to the aid of officers had received a “hiding” from the defendants for his troubles.
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The judge said he had read pre-sentence reports on the Bonnar and Robb and it was clear they were hardworking young men who were sorry for what they had done and the episode was out of character for them.
The judge said in his heart he felt he should protect the police and make an example of the defendants by sending them straight to prison and had the case come before him in a more timely manner he would have done so but the offences were now 15 months old and that delay would save the pair from immediate custody.
Bonnar was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison suspended for two years and Robb to nine months suspended for the same period. Each will also have to complete 120 hours of unpaid work in the community, to be undertaken in Scotland, and pay the member of the public they assaulted £250 in compensation.
Judge Walters told the pair they needed to grow up, adding: “If you breach this order you will be brought back to Wales from the deepest forestry where you work and you will not be leaving again until you serve a prison sentence.”