Given suspened sentences for theft and weapon offence

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

A 32-year-old man was given a lengthy suspended sentence when he appeared last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Jonathan Byrne, Alexandra Square, Lurgan, was sentenced for the theft of wine and beer from Tescos on July 16 last year and possession of an offensive weapon, a golf club, on March 13 this year.

Dealing with the possession charge a barrister representing Byrne said her client was very much the victim along with a co-accused who was dealt with by a caution. But given the defendant’s record this was not open to him.

She explained that he had been in his home and had received abusive phone calls followed by banging on his door and windows.

The lawyer added that Byrne called the police but it was 45 minutes before they arrived.

She said that her client and the co-accused left the house and Byrne had the golf club in his possession.

“He went from being a victim to be a perpetrator in the same incident,” she commented.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said that Byrne knew that with the medication he was on he should not take alcohol.

“He chooses to consume alcohol and in order to do so stops taking his medication so he can drink and becomes a danger to the public,” she commented.

Dealing with the theft offence a different barrister said Byrne had been drinking all day and taking cocaine before he went into Tescos, lifted more drink and walked out.

He added that his drink problem was going to be a lifelong struggle but there were now tentative signs that he was moving in the right direction.

Judge Kelly added Byrne was too high a risk not to be taking his medication and substituting it with alcohol or other illicit drugs.

She told him she was going to give him one final chance but if she saw him again in court for anything he would receive a prison sentence.

For the theft offence she sentenced him to six months in custody and handed down a four month term for possession of and offence weapon.

The sentences are to run consecutively giving an overall term of ten months but the judge suspended them for two years.