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Armagh man found lying in flowerbed avoids prison despite ‘outrageous’ behaviour

When he got up, he was damaging their flower pots and was 'banging aggressively' on their windows and front door

An Armagh man who was found lying in a Benburb resident’s flowerbed before damaging their plant pots has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Connor Anthony Hughes, of Deanery Court, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse, on Tuesday.

The 42-year-old was charged with criminal damage, possession of Class C drugs and disorderly behaviour.

The court heard that on July 17 this year, police received a report of a suspicious male at the Maydown Road in Benburb, when a resident reported that an unknown male was lying in their flowerbed.

When he got up, he was damaging their flower pots and was “banging aggressively” on their windows and front door.

On the arrival of police, the defendant appeared to be under the influence and was “not making much sense”. Police carried out a search on the defendant and located three small packets of Zopiclone.

The injured party informed police that the defendant had damaged their front door handle and plant pots, during which he was very aggressive and shouting abusive language.

Seamus Lannon BL, defending, described his client’s behaviour as “outrageous” and said that he had “done himself no favours in the circumstances of this particular case”.

District Judge Anne Marshall noted that the incident had occurred three weeks after he had received a suspended sentence for another matter.

Mr Lannon replied: “The lesson was supposed to be learned in that particular suspended sentence. It wasn’t learned.”

He continued: “It’s a very, very unsatisfactory state of affairs as far as he [the defendant] is concerned and he’s put himself in immediate jeopardy of going to custody.”

District Judge Marshall, on imposing sentence, described the incident as “simply appalling behaviour” and stated that the custody threshold had passed.

“He is absolutely not learning his lesson and that’s why I’m going to deal with him today,” she said.

Hughes was sentenced to two months in custody, suspended for two years. Due to a previous suspended sentence, this left him with a potential six months in custody within the next two years.

District Judge Marshall added: “I’m not entirely confident that we won’t see you again for breaching it but it’s over to you now.”

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