A 42-year-old man who was convicted in his absence of a charge of harassment still maintained his innocence, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.
Edward Aiden Oliver McDermott, Whyte Acres, Banbridge, was charged that between September 10 and November 30 last year he pursued a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of John McCourt.
The case was listed as a contest on April 16 but McDermott failed to appear at court and the case went ahead in his absence.
District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, after hearing the evidence, convicted the defendant and issued a warrant for his arrest to bring him to court for sentencing.
A solicitor for McDermott said that his client had got his dates mixed up and he would still maintain his innocence.
The previous court, on April 16, heard from Mr John McCourt who said that since 1992 he had ran a furniture business at Dromore Road, Banbridge.
He explained that at the beginning of last year it had been arranged McDermott to concrete a yard and they gave a quote of £2,500.
When the job was finished, he went on, McDermott wanted £5,800.
Mr McCourt agreed to pay £4,450 but since then there had been almost daily incidents of harassment. On numerous occasions he had to call the police.
Last Thursday McDermott’s solicitor said his only relevant conviction was for an assault in 2008.
Judge Copeland told the defendant he had caused a lot of alarm, distress and upset to the complainant and added that although the previous conviction was some time ago it showed a certain disposition.
He fined McDermott £500 and ordered him to pay a £15 offender’s levy.
The judge also imposed a restraining order for two years prohibiting him from harassing Mr McCourt or his family.
Immediately McDermott’s solicitor asked for bail to be set so his client could appeal. Bail was sent at £500.