A man has appeared in court in Belfast charged with attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on two police officers by spitting on them and claiming to have Covid-19.

Brendan Walker, 39, from Clanmorris Street in the north of the city, is accused of targeting the officers while they arrested him for suspected incidents of domestic violence.

He denies two charges of trying to inflict grievous bodily harm and claims any coughing was the result of asthma and a chest infection.

Belfast Magistrates Court was told he is not known to have Covid-19.

The court was told the officers arrested him yesterday after his partner claimed he attacked her on two separate occasions this week.

She claims to have suffered a miscarriage after being pushed over on Monday.

A PSNI officer told the court: "When he was arrested he stated that he had coronavirus and continued to cough into the faces of (the two constables) from a distance of less than one metre."

A lawyer for the 39-year-old said his client has suffered from severe asthma since the age of 11 and was also suffering from a suspected chest infection.

He told the court Brendan Walker's medical condition caused him to react when put in a mask during the arrest operation.

"He pulled the mask off because he was distressed by his breathing and started to cough," he said.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall said there was no medical evidence that the defendant’s partner had been pregnant.

She granted Walker bail on condition that he lives under curfew at an address known to police and does not have any contact with the woman.

He is due to appear in court again in four weeks time.