A MAN has admitted spitting at a police officer who went on to test positive for Covid-19 several days after the incident.

Steven Licorish pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating of an emergency worker at a Poole Magistrates’ Court hearing yesterday, February 23.

The 41-year-old, whose address was given as Bath Road, Bournemouth, also admitted an offence of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.

Both crimes were committed in Charminster Road, Bournemouth, on Wednesday, January 6.

The court heard that PC Joe Terry tested positive for the coronavirus a few days after the incident, which led to him being “extremely unwell in hospital".

However, the defendant would be sentenced purely on the basis of the act of spitting at an officer who was on duty, with it not being possible to prove that Licorish’s actions led to PC Terry testing positive.

Prosecuting, Nicola Reece did not fully open the case but referenced an extract from PC Terry’s victim impact statement during the hearing.

She said: “He cannot prove that he caught Covid from this particular spit but he did contract Covid a few days later.”

Police body-worn camera footage from PC Terry’s colleague was played in court.

It showed the defendant sat on the ground with the two police officers nearby.

Ms Reece said an audible spit could be heard and the action seen on the footage, with PC Terry’s colleague telling him “it landed on your vest”.

Mitigating, James Moore said it was accepted by the crown that it was not possible to say how the officer became infected with Covid.

Mr Moore said Licorish is remorseful and accepts that he needs to be punished for the spitting offence.

The barrister added that the defendant is a vulnerable man with alcohol issues.

District Judge Stephen Nicholls adjourned the case to allow a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

The judge said the case was similar to others in recent months where there was no direct causal link between the spitting and the infection. He added that it was “unfortunate where the chronology is concerned”.

Judge Nicholls told Licorish that he was leaving all sentencing options open ahead of the next hearing.

The case was adjourned until March 19, with the defendant remanded on unconditional bail.