Police drew weapon on Dungiven man


A police officer was forced to draw his sidearm when he feared a Dungiven man swinging a wooden post would injure him, a court heard this week.

The incident occurred on March 17 when police were called to an incident at King’s Lane in Ballykelly.

Limavady Magistrate’s Court heard last Wednesday that as officers arrived on scene they saw 20-year-old John James Farren swinging a wooden fence post that had nails on it in front of members of the public.

The court heard the officer feared police would be injured by Farren who was shouting abuse. Farren, with an address at Ard Na Smoll, Dungiven, was warned to drop the wooden post by police.

After a second police warning, Farren dropped the post and lay on the ground, face down, laughing.

The court heard Farren had been drinking all day and had gone to a house in Ballykelly.

The female and her partner were upstairs when a verbal row occurred downstairs between Farren and another male.

The situation escalated and Farren assaulted the male by punching him in the face.

The court heard Farren subsequently assaulted a second male who had tried to get him out of the house by throwing a bottle at him.

When Farren was outside the property, he trew an item at a window where the female was standing. and it smashed.

Defence counsel Nicola Rountree said that night “morale was high and alcohol consumption was perhaps, even higher”; that it was “an extremely bad, drunken incident”.

Ms Rountree said Farren had been drinking all day and had gone to his sister’s house where the drinking continued. She said as the verbal row between Farren and the male escalated, “the rest is a blur”.

“He accepts he was the main aggressor,” said Ms Rountree, who said Farren had no recollection of the incident outside.

“He simply doesn’t remember,” said Ms Rountree.

Farren also appeared in court in relation to the offence of criminal damage to windows at a property in Dungiven between 29 March and 31 March causing damage to the value of £231.60.

The court heard samples from blood found on blocks inside the property were identified as belonging to Farren. He said he had no reason to be there, but accepted if the samples matched his blood, he must have been.

District Judge Liam McNally said the offences - two counts of assault on a male, assault on a female, criminal damage to a window, disordely behaviour, resisting a police officer, assaulting a police officer, and possession of an offensive weapon - were serious.

He adjourned sentencing until December 17, and remanded Farren in custody until then.