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Co Armagh man attacked neighbour’s fence with hammer in early hours

Defence said his client has "difficulty filling his day" and on this occasion was "unstable from medication" which had changed a short time before

Armagh Courthouse

A County Armagh man who damaged his neighbour’s fence with a hammer in the early hours of the morning has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

Jonathan Brady, of Mossfield Estate, Glenanne, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse.

The 29-year-old was charged with four counts of criminal damage, possession of a Class B drug, two counts of disorderly behaviour and two counts of assault on police.

The court heard that at 5:30am on December 8 last year, police were tasked to a report of a man with a hammer, who was damaging property in Mourneview, Mowhan.

Police attended the scene and located the defendant at his home address. He complied with police initially but his behaviour “escalated” and he began to shout obscenities.

He then headbutted one of the officers, “striking to the top” of his body armour. Due to this, limb restraints had to be applied. He then attempted to headbutt the same officer again but missed.

The defendant then continued to kick out with his leg, striking an officer.

The injured party told police that he had been awakened by a disturbance outside his home at approximately 5:30am, and observed the defendant, who was his neighbour, shouting in the street and damaging his fence with a hammer.

He then observed the defendant return to his own property before coming back shouting. He then walked up to the injured party’s fence and lifted and threw his bins out onto the street.

The defendant then returned home, came out with another item in his hands and walked towards the IP’s van.

The injured party then shouted out at the defendant from his house. The defendant continued to shout before returning home.

The court heard that the bins and fence had been damaged, costing £220, and a compensation order was being sought. The prosecution also sought a restraining order for the injured party and a destruction order for cannabis the defendant had been in possession of.

Brady’s defence counsel told the court that his client had been “stable” in life until 2012 when he succumbed to mental health difficulties.

He said Brady has “difficulty filling his day” and on this occasion was “unstable from medication” which had changed a short time before.

He added: “From the content of the pre-sentence report, it could be argued that he didn’t help himself in this regard because he was intoxicated in a significant way, and at the time he was using cannabis.”

However, he explained that since this incident his client has stabilised and has stopped using cannabis completely.

The defence conceded that the defendant was in breach of a three year probation order, but that a probation officer had said the defendant had “fully re-engaged” with probation services.

District Judge Anne Marshall said she was considering community service as an option.

“That’ll give you a way of filling your day and hopefully give you an incentive to stay out of trouble,” she said.

She added that the offences in relation to the neighbour were “bad enough”, but noted a further disorderly behaviour incident at Daisy Hill Hospital.

District Judge Marshall imposed a community service order of 200 hours, saying: “You must be in no doubt that if you do not complete that community service order it will be revoked and the likelihood is you’ll get an immediate custodial sentence.”

She also imposed a restraining order in respect of the injured party for a period of two years, a destruction order for the cannabis, and made a £220 compensation order, to be paid within 20 weeks.

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