A 35-year-old man who shouted ‘Up the Ra’ and ‘Up the Provos’ in two drunken episodes in Portadown was jailed for seven months last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.
And he was told by the judge that at this stage of his life he should have settled down.
George Matchett, whose address was given as the Simon Community Hotel in Lisburn, admitted two disorderly behaviour offences.
The first was at the Garvaghy Road in Portadown on July 20 this year.
The second was on August 31 at Ballyoran Park in Portadown.
On this occasion at 6.45pm police went to deal with a group at the rear of the Ashgrove community centre.
Matchett was there and he was topless and clearly intoxicated. He said: “What the f—k are you doing here?” and “Up the Ra.”
He was told to go home and went to a friend’s house as police left the area.
They returned later after the group of people had grown and Matchett said ‘up the f—king Ra’ before fighting with another male in the group.
A barrister representing Matchett said his behaviour was ‘drunken stupidity’.
He added that his client had taken himself out of the Lurgan and Portadown area and has been alcohol and drug free.
The barrister said that body camera footage of the incidents showed Matchett was ‘completely out of it’.
He asked the court to leave something hanging over Matchett’s head or defer the matter to see if he could stay out of trouble.
Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said that on July 20 Matchett was behaving in ‘a high spirited manner’ at 12.15am in the middle of the Garvaghy Road and it progressed to shouting ‘up the Provos’ at that time of the morning.
Then, added the judge, the day after he had been given a suspended sentence he didn’t lie low and at 6.45pm he was running around the back of a community centre shouting ‘up the Ra’.
“I expect by this stage of your life you would have settled down,” he told Matchett.
Judge Mateer pointed out that the defendant had received two suspended sentences at Laganside for disorderly behaviour and another for at Ballymena for arson at a hostel he was staying at.
“Your counsel makes a strong plea on your behalf that you have now settled but in the pre-sentence report I don’t see any evidence of this,” Judge Mateer told Matchett. “You are assessed at a high likelihood of re-offending.”
He added that a community service order had been revoked so community options were effectively ruled out.
Judge Mateer imposed a three month sentence for the first offence and four months for the second to run consecutively, making a total sentence of seven months.
He also activated the suspended sentences to run concurrently.
“You are getting half of what you deserve,” he told the defendant.
Later in the court he set bail at £400 for Matchett to appeal against the sentencing.