Suspended sentence for disorderly behaviour

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

A man who was said to have become ‘emotional’ after he noticed a plaque erected in memory of his murdered brother had been removed was given a suspended sentence today at Derry Magistrate’s Court for a disorderly behaviour charge in Altnagelvin Hospital.

David Harkin (38) of 16, Iona Park admitted the offence which took place on October 15.

The court was told that Harkin had attended the police station and asked to be taken to Altnagelvin Hospital and on the way there he warned police if he was not seen quickly he was going to ‘kick off.’

When they arrived at the hospital Harkin was told it would be between two to four hours before he would be seen and he became aggressive shouting and swearing at police.

At one stage he told police ‘you are yellow b------s and if I catch you on your own I will bury you.’

He was arrested and on the way to the police station he headbutted a panel in the police vehicle.

Defence counsel Ms Nicola Rountree said that her client was still suffering grief after the murder of his brother in February 2013.

She said it was ‘an extreme and traumatic form of grief’ and on the night in question he had noticed a plaque erected in memory of his brother had been removed.

She said he went about this the right way and went to the police station to report it but once there he became ‘emotional’ and had to be taken to hospital.

She said Harkin did not have a drink problem and this was ‘a one off’ after ‘an unfortunate set of circumstances.’

District Judge Barney McElholm said that a hospital disorderly carried a custodial sentence but he would take account of the fact that Harkin had gone a substantial period without offending.

He sentenced Harkin to 3 months suspended for 18 months, ordered him to pay £100 to the Friends of Altnagelvin and placed him on probation for 6 months.