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Armagh man who was abusive to staff left court but returned with a hurl and sliotar

Earlier in the day he had been verbally abusive to staff and told them: 'I'll be back with a hurley stick'

An Armagh man who returned with a sliotar and hurl after being verbally abusive to court staff has been given a conditional discharge.

Court heard the 38-year-old left the precincts only to return with the hurl and began hitting the sliotar against the wall of the security access point.

Damien Cauldwell, of Killuney Drive, appeared for sentencing for possessing an offensive weapon in a public place at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that at around lunchtime on October 16, 2018, police received a report from the Armagh Court that a male was outside waving a hurl.

Officers seized the stick from the male and were able to identify him as the defendant.

Cauldwell had been in the court earlier that day. He had been verbally abusive to staff and told them: “I’ll be back with a hurley stick.”

The defendant had returned with the stick and had begun hitting the sliotar against the security access wall.

When interviewed, Cauldwell denied using the hurl as a weapon but accepted shouting at security staff.

Defence barrister Patrick Taggart stated: “His huge record does him no favours. This is a man with a history of drug addiction, sadly heroin.

“A number of his friends overdosed and sadly he is the last one, but he has been attending St Luke’s for the last seven or eight years for monthly testing.”

He continued: “He was up in court for refusing a drugs search. He had asked to speak to his counsel at which point he was verbally abusive to staff.

“He left before his case was called and it was adjourned. He was playing the sliotar against the side of the wall, I was actually present. I think it is a case of his temper got the better of him.”

Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy commented that the case was “quite bizarre” before asking about the defendant’s current condition.

Mr Taggart stated: “He is doing exceptionally well. Out of nowhere he got into cycling and is cycling all over the place, but because he has a reputation he tends to be stopped by police and that causes friction.

“He was verbally abusive to court staff. He accepts this was the wrong way to deal with it. It was stupidity on his part.”

Deputy District Judge Kennedy told Cauldwell: “The court staff are here to make sure everyone is protected. They do not know if threats are real or not, but in fairness you are undergoing treatment and it is important you keep that up.”

Cauldwell was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.

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