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Suspended sentence for man after neighbour’s car windows were smashed

The injured party saw the defendant outside and he was shouting 'come out you coward', before passing a weapon to another male who smashed all the windows of his vehicle

An Armagh man has been handed a suspended prison sentence after his neighbour’s car windows were smashed.

Sentencing the 46-year-old, a district judge said: “You took the law into your own hands. That cannot be accepted as it leads to a lack of peace and security in the community, therefore I believe it does cross the custody threshold.”

Martin Lawrence, of Callanbridge Park, appeared for sentencing on possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence and criminal damage at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on March 16, police received a report of a vehicle being damaged outside a property on Mullacreevie Park in Armagh.

The injured party stated that he had been upstairs at around 12.30am, when he heard shouting and banging at the door.

He looked outside and saw the defendant who was shouting “come out you coward”, before passing a weapon to another male who smashed all the windows of his vehicle.

Police viewed CCTV which showed the incident as described and Lawrence was identified from the footage.

The defendant was arrested and during interview made no comment.

Prosecution informed court that there was no estimate for the damage to the vehicle.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon outlined that there had been an issue between the injured party and this defendant’s son but added that his client now accepted he reacted in a “totally irrational and totally foolish way”.

Mr Lannon stated that Lawrence had “no axe to grind” with the injured party, although their relationship had “suffered”.

He added: “Mr Lawrence does come before the court with a record. This is a lot of motoring offences and some dishonesty offences although most of them are of some vintage.

“I could see how your worship would deem this to have crossed the custody threshold but I would ask that it is dealt with in a way which does not result in immediate custody.”

Addressing the defendant, District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “For whatever reason, irrational or not, you took some sort of weapon and went about systematically smashing all the windows of this man’s car.

“You took the law into your own hands. That cannot be accepted as it leads to a lack of peace and security in the community, therefore I believe it does cross the custody threshold.”

Lawrence was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay compensation of £400 within 26 weeks.

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