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Man who breached restraining order and sent ‘controlling’ texts to his ex-partner avoids jail

He was told: 'Given that you have reconnected with your son and are working I will not send you to prison today'

A Lurgan man who made ‘controlling’ texts and calls to his ex-partner has been given a suspended prison sentence.

The district judge told the 32-year-old: “Given that you have reconnected with your son and are working I will not send you to prison today.”

Jason Baylis, of Lurgan Tarry, pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order, harassment and persistent improper use of communications to cause anxiety at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Defence counsel commented that another charge of making threats to kill had been withdrawn.

Prosecution outlined that on July 12, police were contacted by the injured party who claimed the defendant, her ex-partner, had been harassing her through messages and calls.

She alleged in one of the messages Baylis had claimed he would cut her throat.

The injured party stated that she had been receiving the messages, which she described as controlling, since July 8.

There were multiple texts in which the defendant asked where she was and what she was doing.

The defendant attended Lurgan police station for interview. He denied all allegations and surrendered his phone for examination.

Following this, multiple messages between the parties were obtained and when interviewed again Baylis made full admissions.

Defence counsel stated: “This is a hardworking man. He is currently under a combination order which was supposed to end on August 9 but he asked for it to be extended to February 2020.

“He wanted to finish off the programmes he was engaging with. He did this to get contact with his son which he now does.”

He continued: “The probation office have said he shows willingness to engage and expresses remorse. He has some very serious mental health problems.

“He has social anxiety and depression. He is also diagnosed with ADHD which means he does not deal with some situations well.”

District Judge Gregg McCourt stated: “You lost credit for pleading guilty at the last minute, but given that you have reconnected with your son and are working I will not send you to prison today.”

Baylis was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for three years.

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