Published Tuesday, 03 April 2012
Patton allegedly threatened police and refused to hand over the weapon. (© UTV)
Robert Patton tried to head-butt one policeman and kicked out at another officer as they tried to take the weapon from him during an incident in February.
At Belfast Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, the 23-year-old was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years, for having the crossbow.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall said someone could have been killed if it had been used.
Patton, of Forthriver Park, Belfast, was convicted of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, two counts of assault on police, disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest.
The court heard the officers were called out to an ongoing domestic dispute in the Forthriver area in the early hours of 2 February.
A Public Prosecution Service lawyer said Patton came towards police carrying the crossbow.
"He said it was for his protection from paramilitaries as he had been beaten by them before," she claimed.
Patton's solicitor, Denis Moloney, agreed it was lucky that neither officer was injured during the scuffle.
Mr Moloney urged the judge not to impose an immediate jail sentence, pointing to Patton's psychiatric problems.
Mrs Bagnall commented: "Attacks on police officers are appalling.
"But what is arguably more concerning is somebody wandering about at that hour of the night with a crossbow, and the purpose of the crossbow is to protect himself."
She added that any attempt to use it could have resulted in a fatality.
Patton was also given suspended sentences, ranging from one month to three, to run concurrently for the assaults, disorderly behaviour and resisting police.