Sex offender lunges at prosecutor with knife

  • 08/08/2016
Sex offender lunges at prosecutor with knife

A man in the US state of Michigan on trial for two sexual assault charges pulled a knife from his sleeve in an alleged attempt to stab the assistant prosecutor in court.

Video shows Joshua Harding, 35, seemingly targeting Jonathan Roth with the improvised knife, charging across the room at him.

He narrowly misses his target as he is promptly tackled to the ground by three police officers.

As Harding tries to swing his arm at Mr Roth again, the police officers roll him onto his stomach and handcuff him.

The incident has sparked a review of security at the Veterans Memorial Courthouse in downtown Lansing, meaning inmates taken from the county jail may soon have to pass through a metal detector and body scanner.

Harding was found guilty of one charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, with the jury deadlocked on a second charge. He wasn't allowed to attend the hearing in person.

"It is my position that Mr Harding, due to his conduct - violently attacking the prosecutor during the last proceeding - that he has forfeited his constitutional right [to be in court]," Judge James Jamo said.

He will be sentenced next month, and faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.

Harding is also likely to be charged with assault with intent to murder for the courtroom attack, which is punishable by up to life in prison.

Local police say Harding - already a registered sex offender - assaulted two children in April of last year on the northern edge of a cemetery.