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Portadown man who told victim to drop criminal damage charges jailed

The call lasted a few seconds and the caller said 'here, drop them charges, it should never have happened', which was followed by a text of a similar nature

jailed craigavon court

A Portadown man who damaged a window at a house and later contacted the resident telling them to drop the charges has been jailed for six months.

Ryan Pepper (30), of Westland Road, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday via videolink from Maghaberry, charged with criminal damage and intimidation of a witness.

At the outset of the hearing, defence counsel Aaron Thompson told the court that his client was pleading guilty to the charges and that he wished for the case to be dealt with without a pre-sentence report.

Prosecution outlined that on July 4 this year, police attended an address in Portadown as a drunken male, who was believed to be the defendant, was outside the property shouting and throwing stones.

On police arrival, the defendant had already left. They confirmed that damage had been caused to the car and the property of the injured party.

It was ascertained from the injured party that two males were involved. They had identified the defendant as one of the males, who was wearing a light coloured tracksuit.

The incident was also captured on CCTV, with footage appearing to show the male in the light tracksuit throwing an object towards the property. The defendant was subsequently arrested and conveyed to Lurgan custody.

The injured party then provided a second statement to police, stating that in the early hours of July 10 he received a phone call from a male whom he believed to be the defendant.

He stated the reason for the contact was due to the incident one week prior. The call lasted a few seconds and the caller said “here, drop them charges, it should never have happened”. He then received a text in a similar nature.

The court was then told that the defendant and injured party had known each other from the area, with Deputy District Judge McStay noting that Pepper’s criminal record had 141 entries.

Mr Thompson, defending, noted that the injured party was a man of similar background and that some sort of argument had occurred prior to the incident.

He added that it “wasn’t a threat with menace” but that the men knew each other and Pepper had “stupidly” contacted him.

While conceding that his client has a “terrible record” and has spent a “huge amount of custody on his record”, he said he had already served two months on this case.

Deputy District Judge McStay commented: “It’s clearly a prison sentence in all the circumstances given his record and given the nature of the offences, particularly given the aggravation of the intimidation matter.”

He added that Pepper’s record for criminal damage in recent years has been “frequent”.

Judge McStay sentenced Pepper to two months custody for the criminal damage charge and four months custody for the intimidation charge.

These charges are to run consecutively, making a total of six months in prison.

He also made a compensation order of £240 for the damage caused, with the defendant being given 26 weeks to pay.

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