A Laurencetown man has been before the local Magistrates Court in connection with an incident which ended with him urinating in the corner of a police cell.
Christopher Bell, who is 58 years old and currently living in the Lawrencetown area, pleaded guilty at an earlier sitting of East Tyrone Magistrates Court to a single charge of criminal damage.
Outlining the circumstances of the case, a prosecuting lawyer told the court that during the early hours of December 27 last year, police responded to an anonymous call from a female regarding an incident involving the defendant at her mother’s house at Burn Road in Cookstown.
The charge before the court arose after Bell, who was found to be in an intoxicated state, was taken into police custody.
According to the prosecutor, Bell urinated in the corner of the police cell, despite there being a toilet available for use.
Bell was subsequently arrested and charged with the offence of criminal damage.
Defending the case, barrister Noel Dillon told the court that his client had a lengthy criminal record.
Yet despite this, the lawyer continued, Bell had managed to stay out of trouble for the past three years.
Bell had been arrested “in a very incompetent state”, the barrister explained, and suffered from medical problems which necessitated the wearing of a catheter.
“However, that is still no excuse for his behaviour on this occasion”, the defending lawyer went on.
“He (defendant) took off his own t-shirt and cleaned up the urine with that.”
Bell’s legal representative described the incident before the court as “a foolish matter” and explained that the cost of cleaning the cell afterwards had been in the region of £10.
After hearing the facts of the case and examining a pre-sentence report which had been prepared in the matter by the Northern Ireland Probation Service, District Judge John Meehan told the defendant that the nature of the incident met the custodial sentencing threshold.
District Judge Meehan handed down a prison sentence of one month for the offence of criminal damage, but explained that he was willing to suspend the custodial term for a period of two years.
Addressing the defendant, District Judge Meehan warned him that he would have to serve the prison term if he comes before the court again within the two year period, in addition to any other sentences imposed.