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Conditional discharge for hostel resident who admitted ‘wrecking the place’ after drugs relapse

The district judge observed he 'took to drugs and alcohol before damaging and throwing things back in the faces of those who wished to help'

Linen Court Hostel

An Armagh man who “wrecked” a local hostel after lapsing from a drug-free period has been given a conditional discharge.

The district judge told the 23-year-old: “You were anxious to turn things around in your life, yet you took to drugs and alcohol before damaging and throwing things back in the faces of those who wished to help you.”

Josh Cheevers, of Linenhall Street, pleaded guilty to criminal damage at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

It was heard that on July 13, police responded to a report of a male suspected of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol damaging property at the Linen Court Hostel, Armagh.

Officers found the defendant in his room at the address.

They observed mugs broken in the hallway outside his bedroom, damage to the communal toilet along with a wardrobe in his room.

Such was Cheevers’ condition that he had to be taken to Craigavon Area Hospital for treatment before being conveyed to Dungannon Custody Suite.

During interview, the defendant told police: “Aye, I was wrecking the place.”

He admitted to kicking the mugs but could not remember damaging the toilet roll holder in the bathroom.

District Judge Paul Copeland commented: “This man caused damage to rent-free accommodation which was made available to him.”

Defence counsel stated: “After a drug-free period Mr Cheevers suffered a lapse. He instructs he would normally be the mediator with other residents.

“This was a very unfortunate incident. He has a bad history of drug addiction. This was an admission at the earliest opportunity”.

District Judge Copeland said: “Mr Cheevers, according to reports you were anxious to turn things around in your life, yet you took to drugs and alcohol before damaging and throwing things back in the faces of those who wished to help you.”

The defendant was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation of £200 within 10 weeks.

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