A DEFENDANT facing two cases of dangerous driving, is to be assessed over his fitness to plead.

James Michael Holden, 33, of Hazel Terrace, Shotton Colliery, is accused of driving dangerously on Horden’s Coast Road and nearby roads, on May 29, 2019, and on April 17, this year, in both incidents assaulting two emergency workers upon arrest.

He is also accused of being in possession of a knife and a prohibited taser-like weapon capable of emitting an electric charge, plus possession of a class A drug, amphetamine, in Castle Dene shopping centre, in Peterlee, on March 29, last year.

But Durham Crown Court, sitting at Newcastle, heard he is awaiting assessment by a psychiatrist.

Judge James Adkin agreed to await preparation of the psychiatric report but, as a contingency, said a trial date ought to be scheduled if the defendant was to go on to deny any of the offences, if deemed fit to plead.

He was remanded to remain in custody pending completion of the psychiatric assessment and provisional trial dates were set for September 14 for the two dangerous driving cases and September 28, for the knife and prohibited weapon case.