Derry Court: Judge labels case a ‘tale of modern despair’

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A judge has described a case where a man ‘lost it’ over delays to getting his phone fixed as a ‘tale of modern despair’.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 23-year-old Aaron O’Kane appeared at the local magistrates court.

O’Kane, of Carnhill, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, criminal damage and attempted criminal damage on January 21.

The court heard the 23-year-old had sent his broken iPhone away to get fixed and had been given a replacement phone by Carphone Warehouse.

When he went to collect his phone, he was asked to return the replacement phone.

However, when he was unable to return the box for this phone he was asked to pay £4.99.

The court was told O’Kane became abusive and shouting at other customers, including a child.

He then attempted to throw the chip and pin machine and a computer off a counter.

The 23-year-old also bit through a phone charger, causing it to break in two.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley told the court that his clients ‘frustrations’ about the length of time it took for his phone to get fixed ‘boiled over’.

He added: “This was all about him being charged five pounds for a cardboard box. It doesn’t excuse his behaviour but it goes to show that all of us in the right set of circumstances have the ability to lose it once in our lives.”

The solicitor also remarked ‘how did we ever manage to get on with our lives 20 years ago without mobile phones?’

District Judge Barney McElholm said the case was a ‘tale of modern despair’.

He said O’Kane does not have a criminal record ‘but nothing excuses bad manners’.

The judge imposed a conditional discharge for two years and ordered O’Kane to pay £20 compensation.