AN arrested man claimed he had to act in self-defence as he was assaulted by a custody officer while being detained in a police station cell.

Christopher Carr is accused of assaulting an emergency worker by beating and damaging a Durham Constabulary cell, in incidents, following his arrest for unrelated matters on August 17.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court, the 27-year-old defendant denied both charges.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said there would have to be a trial on both counts.

Asked by Judge Christopher Prince if the defence case would be based on a claim the defendant was acting in self-defence, his counsel, Jennifer Coxon agreed.

She said he would deny taking the officer, a custody sergeant at Durham City Police Station, in a bear hug-type hold or anything similar.

Judge Prince said in the circumstances, with the custody officer’s reputation being questioned, it was “in everyone’s interests” the trial proceeds as soon as possible.

But he told Miss Coxon that the allegations are, “serious offences” and a custodial sentence would be the likely outcome if her client is convicted by the jury.

He asked all parties to act “expediently” to ensure the trial, which is only expected to take a day to complete, can take place by the end of the month. The defendant, of Evensley Road, Consett, was bailed until October 29.