An alleged thief called a District Judge a “tramp” during an angry outburst after he was told that he would not be able to apply for bail until a later date.
The exchange occurred during a sitting of Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, in which the defendant appeared via videolink from Maghaberry, with no representation from a solicitor.
Andrew McCandless (29), of no fixed abode, was charged with two thefts on separate dates.
He is alleged to have stolen a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey valued at £18 from Tesco in Portadown on September 12 last year. He is then alleged to have stolen various grocery items to the value of £8 from a Eurospar on September 16.
As the charges were being contested by the defendant, District Judge Bernie Kelly allocated dates for the contest hearings to be heard.
The charge stemming from the alleged Eurospar theft was adjourned to be heard on February 3, and the charge from the alleged Tesco theft was adjourned to February 22.
At this point, the defendant asked, Can I speak?”, to which the District Judge replied: “It depends what you want to say.”
McCandless asked: “Why is this case getting carried on when I’ve been in here almost four months for two alleged thefts?”
District Judge Kelly replied that as he was pleading not guilty to the charges, hearing dates must be set for contest.
The defendant then asked for bail to be granted, to which District Judge Kelly informed him that the prosecution must be put on notice for bail applications.
Clearly agitated, McCandless replied: “Well then I’ll be getting a solicitor to deal with you then because you’re a tramp”, before he was muted on the videolink.
Following this, District Judge Kelly said that she was in fact about to put the bail application in to be heard on Monday, quipping: “Obviously he doesn’t want to do that.”