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Man given chance to show he can stay out of trouble, in employment and off drugs

Choosing to defer sentence until September the district judge advised him: 'The ball is very much in your court'

Craigavon-Courthouse

A Dollingstown man has been given a chance to show that he can stay out of trouble, in employment and off drugs.

Outlining the terms of the deferment of sentence, the district judge told the 29-year-old: “The ball is very much in your court.”

Craig Johnston, of Gilpin Park, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour and two counts of possession of a Class C drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on August 6, at 2am, police received a report that a male had been assaulted on Festival Road in Lurgan.

Officers located the defendant a short distance away and he was arrested. After observing a wound to his hand he was conveyed to Craigavon Area Hospital.

Whilst there, Johnston’s behaviour became erratic; he was shouting and swearing but this continued despite him being warned.

At 3am, police found 11 orange and yellow capsules in the defendant’s hooded top. These were prescription drugs for which he did not have a prescription.

During a further search, police located more prescription tablets wrapped in tissue paper.

Prosecution explained that a total of 23 pregabalin and eight diazepam were seized.

Defence solicitor Siun Downey stated: “His record, although not the worst, does him no favours and there are a number of live suspended sentences, although only one of those are for drugs and it is up in June.

“This is the first time I have known Mr Johnston to be working and he is working with social services. He had contact with his children yesterday and has further meetings coming up.”

She continued: “Most of his offending come about due to his relationship with his ex-partner. She is pregnant and due to give birth in September.

“He has two days of community service to complete and is hoping to complete those on two consecutive Saturdays.”

District Judge Amanda Brady said: “This report is not sympathetic. He has been deemed not suitable for a community-based disposal.

“I am going to defer sentencing until September. I want you to stay out of trouble, stay off drugs and keep working. The ball is very much in your court.”

The case was adjourned until September 9 for sentencing.

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