The “long arm of the law” has caught up with a former Armagh footballer who “buried his head in the sand” after footage of him assaulting police was published on social media.
Sean Mallon, of Tullymore Downs, pleaded guilty to possession of class A, disorderly behaviour, three counts of assault on police and resisting police at the City’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old appeared after a warrant was executed for his arrest on these charges, which all related to offences committed in 2015.
Defence solicitor Jarlath Fields stated the case had been adjourned for some time and this had been down to the defendant keeping a “low profile”.
District Judge Paul Copeland commented that Mallon had “buried his head in the sand”.
It was heard the incident had been the subject of a high level of publicity at the time via a recording which had been posted on social media.
This, Mr Fields claimed, had an “adverse effect” on the mental health of Mallon as he was subject to comments from total strangers on the street.
Court heard that on September 13, 2015 the defendant had been walking past police when a packet of class A drugs fell out of his pocket.
Officers then tried to arrest him, before a tussle ensued with members of the public getting involved.
Mr Fields stated that the situation had “got out of hand”.
It was heard that Mallon had kept an “extremely low profile” with him only leaving the house to go to work.
District Judge Paul Copeland said: “I have some sympathy for this man if the internet has affected him in this way and continues to do so
“You went off the radar for some time, but I hope your arrest makes you realise the long arm of the law will always find you.”
Speaking from the dock Mallon stated: “I’ve changed my life, I was only a teenager at the time and I don’t take anything anymore”.
He also informed the court that before he had been an Armagh City footballer, but give it up when he went under the radar.
Judge Copeland finished by saying: “Don’t be bullied by what is said or put on social media, it is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper or worse”.
The case will be advanced on September 25 when a pre-sentence report will be produced.