A man who threw mucus at a police officer will serve a four-month conditional sentence at his home in Balcarres, Saskatchewan.
Judge K.A. Lang said a four-month jail term would be appropriate, but gave the man a conditional sentence given the "extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19."
An agreed statement of facts said that RCMP were called to the Balcarres Liquor Store on Sept. 5, 2020, at about 4:30 p.m. CST. Tyler Walker was outside the store intoxicated, throwing rocks at vehicles and threatening customers.
Police went to Walker's home, where he met them on his front porch. Walker was "instantly belligerent to police, appeared highly intoxicated and was yelling obscenities at police officers," the statement said.
Walker then blew nasal mucus into his own hand and hurled it at the police officers, striking Const. Ian McCarthy in the chest. Walker was then arrested, held overnight and released the next morning.
The next morning, Walker apologized to a different officer. Walker plead guilty in November to assaulting the officer and said he was a recovering alcoholic but that he "fell off the wagon that day."
Walker told the court he thought doing what he did would keep police away because "maybe they would think I had COVID or something." The judge found this to be a "significantly disturbing comment."
The Crown was pushing for four months incarceration, while the defence asked the judge to consider Walker's mental illnesses of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but did not provide proof of any illness or treatment.
The Crown cited a 2009 case where a man spit in the eye of a police officer and was given six months. The defence tried to argue that this was different, but the judge disagreed.
"I expect our citizens to reciprocally treat our police officers with respect and not unduly place their lives in danger," Lang wrote. "Acts like the ones described in this case demonstrate a complete lack of respect. It is a detestable act."
Lang wrote that Walker clearly viewed the mucus as a weapon.
"The risk of infection from COVID-19 is real and extremely high. The disease can be deadly. I do not view this any differently from a spit to the face for those reasons," Lang wrote.
Walker will be on house arrest unless he has prior written permission to leave for the first two months, cannot consume alcohol or drugs for his full sentence, and is required to complete addictions treatment.