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Man who harassed ex-partner and painted ‘rat’ on her fence jailed

She reported he had come to her home address and, whilst walking to a friend's house, he followed her and videoed her along the way

Craigavon Courthouse

A Lurgan man facing a litany of charges including harassment of his ex-partner and assaulting police in a hospital has been sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Robert Duffy, of no-fixed-abode, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, via videolink from Maghaberry, facing a number of charges relating to two incidents.

The charges that the 31-year-old was facing were harassment, persistent improper use of communications, breach of restraining order, possession of a Class C drug, resisting police, assault on police, attempted criminal damage and three counts of criminal damage.

Conor Lunny BL, defending, noted that the defendant was pleading guilty to all charges.

The court was told that on April 26 this year, police received a report from a woman who stated that her ex-partner, the defendant, was constantly calling her workplace phone requesting to speak with her.

During one instance, she terminated the call, alleging that he phoned her workplace approximately 20 more times. She further alleged that he had come to her home address and, whilst walking to a friend’s house, he followed her and videoed her along the way.

The court also heard that he created a Facebook post which contained a photo of her friend with the caption containing a name and phone number.

The second incident before the court occurred on June 22, when police received a report from the same injured party regarding criminal damage to her property.

They then received a further report from a second victim, also regarding damage to her property.

On attendance at the scene, police observed paint on the fence, with the word ‘rat’ scrawled across it. There was also further damage to the wall beside the property.

Police viewed CCTV which showed the defendant cycling past the injured parties’ houses and later walking past. The initial injured party informed police that she had several missed phone calls on the same date. She answered the phone to the defendant, who told her he was in the hospital with a head injury and had been assaulted.

She told him she did not wish to speak with him and terminated the call.

It was further noted that the second injured party had a restraining order against the defendant.

Police located the defendant and recovered Class C drugs, which he had been hiding in his boxers.

He was then conveyed to custody to be transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital, as he needed medical attention. When police were assisting him into the van, he spat at one of the officers.

When he was in the hospital he became aggressive towards police and also kicked the door of the cell van.

Mr Lunny, while conceding that the offences were “completely unacceptable”, noted that the defendant had been in custody since the offences occurred.

He added that there was a “long history” in respect of both the injured parties, with one being his ex-partner and the other being a neighbour of his ex-partner.

He continued that the defendant’s record is, “completely unenviable. There is nothing I could say to mitigate that whatsoever”.

However, he added that there had been a “softening” of the injured party’s attitude towards the defendant and that he had “no disciplinary issues” whilst on remand in custody.

Deputy District Judge McStay noted that the defendant has a “very bad record” consisting of 65 offences. He added that the defendant was also in breach of a suspended sentence.

On imposing sentence, for the first incident he sentenced Duffy to a total of four months in custody and made a restraining order in favour of the first injured party for a period of two years.

For the second incident, he imposed a total sentence of four months in custody, to run consecutively with the sentence imposed for the first.

He also activated the suspended sentence, for a period of two months, to run consecutively and thus make a total sentence of 10 months in prison.

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