A Sion Mills man who was observed throwing a rucksack at his mother when he was drunk, has received a suspended jail sentence.
In a separate incident, Connor McNulty, of Lismore Grove, spat so much inside a police cell van that it required a deep clean costing more than £70.
Appearing before Strabane Magistrates Court on Thursday, McNulty pleaded guilty to assaulting his mother and breaching a non-molestation order on July 23, 2022.
He also pleaded guilty to breaching a non-molestation order, assaulting a police officer and the criminal damage of a police vehicle by spitting on June 1, 2022.
The court heard that, at 12.50am on July 23, police received a report of a male causing a disturbance in the Lismore Grove area of Sion Mills.
The defendant had walked up the street in an intoxicated state towards his mother’s address and there was a “verbal altercation” on the footpath.
At the time, McNulty was on bail and had been ordered to have no contact with his mother.
Police attended the property and arrested the defendant. A witness told officers that they had observed McNulty throwing a rucksack at his mother.
Upon speaking to the injured party, she informed police that she “felt like a prisoner”.
During interview, the defendant admitted walking past his mother’s house and claimed they had talked about a funeral he had attended earlier in the day.
McNulty told officers that he had drank ten or 12 vodkas and could only remember “bits and pieces” of the incident.
Regarding the earlier incident, at 10.50pm on June 1 this year, police received a report that the defendant had breached a non-molestation order by entering a property in Lismore Grove. A row had then started, the court heard.
McNulty was intoxicated and refused to leave. Officers were later informed that his mother had not given him permission to enter the property.
As he was being taken to custody, the defendant had to be restrained in the police cell van. He spat at a police officer, but missed.
McNulty then spat two further times in the cell.
Defending counsel, Conor O’Kane, told the court that, fortunately, the defendant’s spit didn’t land on any police officers.
The barrister said that, when McNulty was later told the details of the incident in the cell van, he replied, “It’s not like me to spit but if the police say I done it, I did it. It’s a disgusting thing to do.”
Mr O’Kane said that the defendant was a man “crying out for probation”.
The barrister said that McNulty had previously received a probation order for other offending, but had been unable to complete this as he kept getting repeated prison sentences.
Urging the judge not to impose another jail term, Mr O’Kane said that a Probation officer had indicated that they were willing to work with the defendant.
But district judge John Connolly observed that he was not minded to go through another period of probation.
The judge said that the defendant had appeared before the court in a “sober and correct state” and that previously-imposed suspended sentences were working.
Mr Connolly said that the resources available to Probation were currently “few and far between” and he didn’t want to set McNulty up to fail.
The judge said that a suspended sentence would act as a “greater deterrent”.
Mr Connolly sentenced the defendant to a total of eight months in jail in connection to the two sets of offences, which he then suspended for 12 months.
He also granted a restraining order for a period of two years.
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