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‘I am asking you to remain sober’ as judge warns Co Armagh man ‘you have a lot to lose’

'You have a lot to lose by drinking again - you will be in custody and lose your job'

Armagh Courthouse

A Lurgan man has been warned by a district judge that he has “a lot to lose” if caught drinking again whilst on bail.

Court heard that the 26-year-old’s has five breaches of bail since March 2019, two of which related to the consumption of alcohol.

Donald Fegan, of Lurgan Tarry, appeared on foot of a breach of bail at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn on Tuesday, via videolink from police custody.

Court heard that the defendant was on bail for two charge sheets, the first being an alleged disorderly behaviour offence on April 26, the second alleged offences of disorderly behaviour, simple drunk and assault on police relating to May 23.

A constable stated that Fegan has five breaches of bail since March 2019; two of these related to the consumption of alcohol and the remaining three were due to curfew breaches.

It was conceded, however, by the constable that none of these breaches related to his current bail.

Defence solicitor Philip Reid made it known that a bail application, which was objected to by police, was being made on behalf of the defendant.

Outlining the breach, the constable stated that on June 22, at 7.20pm, police were made aware that Fegan was under the influence of alcohol at an address in Lurgan Tarry which was was in contrary to bail conditions placed upon him.

Officers arrived and noted that the defendant was unsteady on his feet, his speech was also slurred and he smelled of intoxicating liquor.

Fegan was subsequently arrested and he made no reply to caution before being transported to Lurgan Custody Suite.

Whilst there, police conducted a preliminary breath test which resulted in a reading of 78mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The constable stated that the incident was reported by Fegan’s father, with whom he lives at the address in Lurgan Tarry.

She added that bail was objected to “on the grounds that he will continue to breach conditions by drinking alcohol”.

Mr Reid stated: “Alcohol has been a feature in this young man’s life, however, on May 25 he secured a job with a butcher in Portadown and had been doing well.

“He was in work yesterday, when he seemed to have some kind of emotional breakdown. He was allowed to leave work and made an emergency appointment with his GP that afternoon, which he attended.”

Mr Reid continued: “He went home, then told his father that he was going out and when he came back it was clear to his father that he had taken some drink.

“His father became concerned when he said he was going to harm himself and that is when police were contacted. The address is still available to him; the family support is still there and he still has that job.”

When asked about the incident by District Judge Nigel Broderick, Fegan commented: “I had a lot going on in my mind.”

District Judge Broderick stated: “I am going to readmit you to bail but with the addition of your father as a surety. Your father acted in a very responsible way.

“But I must warn you that if you continue to breach orders, the patience of the court will be tested. It is clear from your record that when you take alcohol there is an increased chance of you committing offences.”

He added: “In a short space of time, approximately nine years, you have come before the court far too frequently. You have a lot to lose by drinking again – you will be in custody and lose your job.

“I am asking you to remain sober.”

Fegan was release on his own bail of £500, with his father putting forward a surety of the same amount. There is one condition which is that he abstain from alcohol.

The case was adjourned until July 17.

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