Norwich man jailed for coughing in face of police officer as they dispersed group

PUBLISHED: 08:24 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:57 15 April 2020

Richard Law, who has been jailed after coughing in the face of a police officer on Easter Sunday  Photo: Norfolk Police

Richard Law, who has been jailed after coughing in the face of a police officer on Easter Sunday Photo: Norfolk Police


A man who coughed four times in the face of police officer as they tried to disperse a gathering on Easter Sunday has been jailed.

At around 11.30am on Sunday, a member of Norfolk Constabulary’s roads and arms policing team found a group of around 10 people gathered in a park off Pitt Street in Norwich.

The officer spoke to the group and the majority left as requested. However, 44-year-old Richard Law resisted and continued to obstruct the officer. He initially refused to provide his details before coughing four times in the officer’s face.

Law, of Northumberland Street, Norwich, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police offer and being in contravention of the Health Protection Regulations 2020. He was also in breach of existing bail conditions.

On Easter Monday he appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court via video link and was given a 16-week prison sentence.

It came over an Easter weekend in which the constabulary issued 536 warnings relating to the restrictions; 122 on Good Friday, 230 on Saturday, 145 on Easter Sunday and 39 on Easter Monday.

The police also received 1,261 calls from members of the public concerned that people were not following social distancing guidelines - 353 on Good Friday, 452 on Saturday, 304 on Easter Sunday and 152 on Easter Monday.

However, the constabulary was largely positive about the way the county responded to the government’s guidelines and praised those who did stay at home.

Assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth said: “This Bank Holiday Easter weekend was unlike anything we’ve experienced before with the public asked to keep away from beauty spots and avoid socialising in person. For many people that will have involved cancelling their plans and not spending time with friends and family. I know this will have been difficult and I want to thank people for complying with the government’s guidelines

“Over Easter we received a number of calls regarding breaches of these restrictions and, in line with our policing approach, we will always aim to engage, explain and encourage before taking any enforcement action. However, if left with no other option, officers will use the new powers available to them.”

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