Defendant tells judge: ‘this is a totalitarian state’

A Co. Cork man told a judge in Derry on Friday: “This is a totalitarian state. It’s like Stalin’.

Nicholas Roper, with an address of Browns Court, Youghall, Co. Cork, appeared at the local magistrates court via videolink.

He is charged with disorderly behaviour in Altnagelvin Hospital on July 5.

When he initially appeared in court, the 49-year-old sang ‘Born Free’ throughout the hearing and refused to answer any questions asked by the judge.

District Judge Barney McElholm remanded Roper in custody and asked for him to be assessed by mental health authorities.

The court was told he had been assessed and could be sent to Lagan Valley Hospital for treatment.

The judge told Roper if he intended to plead guilty to the charge he would receive a sentence which would allow him to be released into medical care.

At this stage, Roper quoted the 1947 Geneva Convention and said: ‘I know my rights’.

The judge assured the 49-year-old he was trying to help him, but the defendant replied: ‘I know what you are trying to do. This is a totalitarian state. It’s like Stalin’.

Roper also asked for a solicitor from Amnesty International to represent him.

He likened the plans for him to go to hospital to going ‘from one prison to another’.

Judge McElholm released Roper on his own bail of £50 to reside at Lagan Valley Hospital until August 13.