Sent to cells by judge after birthday binge

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An 18-year-old Markethill man was sent to the cells to see what it was like while appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Wednesday last.

Jack Hawthorne of Forest Park admitted assault and criminal damage on January 23 this year.

Craigavon Magistrates Court heard the defendant had been at McDonald’s in Meadow Lane, Portadown when there was an altercation between the defendant and a group of other people.

Hawthorne’s defence lawyer said the 18-year-old had no previous convictions and he had been celebrating his 18th birthday. “He had drank too much alcohol,” said the lawyer.

The court heard that there had been a prank and water was squirted over a friend and it also went over the victims.

The defence lawyer said that in relation to the assault a letter had been sent to the injured party.

The lawyer added that in relation to the criminal damage, he had liaised with his father and paid £2,000 in restitution.

He said his client worked for Mason’s Animal Feeds and Markethill Livestock and his employers had written references.

“He is entirely ashamed of his actions,” he said. “His foolish behaviour will affect his future plans to go to Australia and New Zealand.”

“He had to borrow from his employer to make full restitution,” said the lawyer.

Deputy Judge Neil Rafferty said: “I take your behaviour extremely seriously.

“You are a big lump of a fella. You assaulted someone.

“You are 18 and you think you are absolutely indestructible,” said the Judge. “Send him to a cell,” he told the court. “I want you to see what the inside of a cell is like and you can think about it next time you get drunk.”

After around ten minutes the defendant was brought up from the court cells and stood in the dock.

“What did you think of the cells,” asked the judge. “Not too nice,” said Hawthorne.

The judge went on to describe how much worse the cells were in Maghaberry and how he may have to share with two other inmates.

Judge Rafferty said: “You are 18 and have been stupid. You are probably decent enough to know.”

He fined Hawthorne £250 for the assault and ordered him to pay a £15 Offenders Levy.

On the criminal damage charge, he was handed down a conditional discharge for one year.