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Man told to stay away from Tandragee school gets suspended jail for breaching order

A restraining order - active until June 2024 - bars defendant from going within 500 metres of Tandragee Junior High School or approach any employee of that school


A man told to stay away from a Tandragee school has been given a three month suspended sentence for breaching a restraining order.

Barry Robert James Bruce, (54), of Drumcree Grove, Portadown, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, charged with breaching a restraining order.

The court heard that on September 12 of this year, the injured party was walking outside the gates of Tandragee Junior High School when she observed the defendant in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

The defendant had been convicted of harassment on June 8, in relation to an incident involving the injured party.

A restraining order had been put in place, which is active until June 2024.

One of the conditions of that order was that the defendant could not go within 500 metres of Tandragee Junior High School, or approach any employee of that school.

Police attended the defendant’s home that day and he was arrested on suspicion of breaching the restraining order.

At interview, he admitted that he drove past the school “in error” after taking a wrong turn coming from Markethill.

He said that at no point did he see the injured party outside the school, until he looked in his rearview mirror when his son said that he had seen her.

He denied that there was any behaviour that would cause fear to the injured party.

Defence said that the defendant had entered a guilty plea at the first opportunity and that the incident had happened in error.

“He recognises that it was ultimately his responsibility to ensure his compliance with the order,” defence said.

“The seriousness of this is not lost on him. He understands that he should not have been there.

“He’s committed to ensuring the compliance with the restraining order.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly, presiding, said: “There is absolutely no excuse for breaching this order. The order is clear in its terms.

“You did so, whether flagrantly or with a recklessly scant regard for the contents of that order, and it was put in place for a reason.”

District Judge Kelly sentenced Bruce to three months in custody, suspended for two years.

“Whether you have to serve that or not is up to you and how you conduct yourself over the course of the next two years,” Judge Kelly added.

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