A Lurgan man caught sniffing suspected cocaine from his hand whilst inside a police custody suite has been handed a seven month prison sentence.
Donald Fegan, from Lurgan Tarry, appeared at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Lisburn on Friday, charged with a plethora of offences, which occurred over four separate months this year – April, May, June and July.
The prosecution outlined how, that on June 24, Fegan was observed by a civilian detection officer at Lurgan custody suite repeatedly putting his hand to his face and that “it appeared he was sniffing something from his right hand”.
“The detention officer went to his cell and observed white powder on his right hand and something concealed in his left hand.
“When the defendant opened his hand it contained a bag containing white powder which was then seized. The defendant stated it was cocaine and he was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs.”
Court heard the suspected drugs were hid down his socks when he was taken into custody.
The prosecution also outlined how a month prior to this, on May 23 at just after 10.30pm, police were responding to a report of concern for safety of a man spotted lying in the hedge on Station Road in Moira.
Police attended the scene and saw the defendant lying at the side of the road, and despite several attempts police couldn’t awaken him.
When he did eventually come around, he was asked numerous times for his details but refused, continually telling police to “f*** off”.
The prosecution added: “There were a number of cars which had passed at slow speed and as a result would have been able to hear and see what was going on.
“Police arrested the defendant on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and whilst applying handcuffs the defendant became aggressive and elbowed one officer in the chest. He was further arrested on suspicion of assaulting police.”
Fegan also pleaded guilty to further charges of possession of Class B drugs and disorderly behaviour.
His defence solicitor, Aaron Thompson, admitted his client had a lengthy record but that he struggles with depression and anxiety which in turn “feeds an alcohol and drugs problem which you can see the type of behaviour comes with that”.
“The reality is the problem is more drink than drugs,” said Mr Thompson.
“Strangely in this year he’s actually made some good moves; he had got himself a job in a butcher shop and his employer was very kind.
“One particular day his mood was so low – something akin to a breakdown – he went home, took drink, committed offences and this cycle has perpetuated.
“The breaches of bail are times when his father has struggled to cope with his son.
“He is not a person who goes out partying shouting in the street, fighting, getting in trouble with police; he’s getting himself so drunk because of depression he’s winding up in a hedge or an entry. Police try and help him and he flaunts that help. There is something inherently sad about this.”
District Judge Rosie Watters commented: “Of course there is something sad about this, I agree, he is a young man, hopefully with his whole life ahead of him and he’s messing up.
“The reality of the case is, the police were there to assist him and he attacked them.”
“I bear everything in mind and it’s actually a difficult sentencing. I could run everything consecutively because I’m obliged to but I’m not going to take into account you committed offences while on bail.”
Judge Watters sentenced Fegan to a total of seven months in prison for all offences.