A judge has said he would put an alcoholic with 232 previous convictions into an ‘institution’ if one existed and he had the powers to do so.
District Judge Barney McElholm added: “The most this court can do is to take them off the streets for a while and give a bit of respite to the people who have to put up with their behaviour. Until this particular nettle is grasped by legislators, there is very little else we can do.”
The judge made the comments as he refused bail to 55-years-old Patrick Anthony Farren at the local magistrate’s court.
Farren, who has an address at a hostel in Ballymena, is charged with disorderly behaviour; assaulting police and causing damage to a police car.
The charges relate to an alleged incident on April 6.
The court heard police were called to the Belfray Country Inn because Farren was intoxicated and was refusing to leave.
Officers discovered the defendant asleep on the floor in the middle of the lobby and when they woke him he allegedly became aggressive, shouting and roaring at police.
The court heard there were a number of families in the restaurant at the time who witnessed the alleged incident.
Farren allegedly ignored warnings about his behaviour and continued to shout and roar at police, calling them ‘dirty w***ing b******s’ at one stage.
The defendant was placed in a police vehicle and it is alleged he lashed out with his feet, narrowly missing the head and face of the driver.
The court heard further allegations that he spat when inside the car.
Opposing bail, an investigating officer said it was ‘inevitable’ that Farren would commit further offences.
Defence solicitor, Eugene Burns, said his client is a man with poor health who has an addiction to alcohol.
He added that Farren intends to return to the hostel in Ballymena if released on bail.
Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in custody to appear in court again on April 13.