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Axe-wielding man ‘lucky to have been met by understandable police officers’

The deputy district judge said: 'You are lucky to have been met by understandable police officers. If you start swinging at police, no one would blame them for shooting'

Craigavon-Courthouse

A man who wielded an axe in the presence of police has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

The deputy district judge told the 30-year-old that he was lucky to have encountered “understanding police officers”.

Catalin Balan, of Jervis Street in Portadown, appeared for sentencing on possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Defence counsel stated that a presentence report was not before the court, however, their client had claimed to have had no contact from probation regarding this.

Instead of ordering of a new report, Balan’s legal representative asked that a suspended period of imprisonment was imposed.

Outlining the facts, prosecution stated that on April 19, at 9.50pm, police were called to a disturbance in the Portadown area.

Upon arrival a number of intoxicated males were at the property but the scene appeared calm.

One male was observed to have a wound to his head with blood on his clothes but this was later found to be from minor injuries.

This defendant then approached officers with a “wooden handled axe” and he had to be subsequently detained.

Police were unable to get a coherent explanation as to what had occurred, Balan was arrested and interviewed making no comment.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes stated: “The facts of this are bringing back memories of a case in my early career which ended in a member of the public being shot by the RUC, somewhat understandable.

“You are lucky to have been met by understandable police officers. If you start swinging at police, no one would blame them for shooting.”

Balan was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years.

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