Limavady man ‘has been drinking since 1972’ - court hears

Limavady Courthouse
Limavady Courthouse

A 60-year-old Limavady man who “has been drinking since 1972”, and who was described by the local District Judge as “a scourge on the town for more than 40 years”, has been jailed for four months.

Philip Daniel O’Kane of Mill Place appeared at Limavady Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with three counts of disorderly behaviour, and two counts of assaulting police.

The court heard on September 29, O’Kane was seen on Main Street, Limavady at 5.50pm swearing and shouting abuse in front of members of the public, including a large number of school children. Police warned him to monitor his behaviour, and they subsequently offered O’Kane a lift home.

However, when police reached O’Kane’s home, he became violent and abusive and, when the police moved to arrest him, he started flailing his arms connecting with police. He also spat at police. When arrested he quizzed police about which district judge would be in court, asking: “Who’s on tomorrow? That a***hole McNally or that b****** McElholm?”

On October 24, O’Kane was observed outside a chemist in Limavady town centre shouting abuse. Police attended and warned him to calm down, but he continued to be disorderly and shouted to police: “F*** off you f***ing w*****”.

As he walked off O’Kane produced a bottle of vodka from his pocket and started drinking. O’Kane was warned about on street drinking. He was arrested and said: “Take these f***ing cuffs off now”.

On December 9, O’Kane was reported to be in a local business in Connell Street carpark where he was shouting, causing a nuisance and screaming.

When he was taken outside he went to punch a police officer and made a loud screeching noise with his teeth. He shouted abuse and an elderly woman approached O’Kane and told him he was “a disgrace”.

Defence solicitor Peter Jack said he was amazed O’Kane was still alive.

Mr Jack said O’Kane was a nuisance to the town, and that if you asked O’Kane his occupation he would say ‘drinker’.

“He’s 60 and he has an appalling record, and when he sees police officers in uniform it’s like a red rag to a bull,” said Mr Jack. He said because O’Kane doesn’t confine his drinking to inside his home, O’Kane “runs out of his home up the street and causes a complete nuisance to the town and police”.

District Judge Liam McNally said O’Kane “has been drinking since 1972 and for more than 40 years he has been a scourge to this town”.

Mr McNally said it was not an offence to take a critical view of himself or Judge McElholm, and said that would not form part of the sentence he imposed.

However, Mr McNally said when O’Kane lashes out at police and spits on officers, and uses derogatory language, he would be failing in his duty not to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

O’Kane was sentenced to a total of four months in custody and ordered to pay a £25 offender levy.