While attending a court in Newry a 56-year-old man made threats to two witnesses in his case, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.
Thomas Edward Brian Finn, whose address was given as Crawford Park, Portadown, admitted disorderly behaviour and two charges of attempting intimidation of a witness at New Street, Newry, on January 18 this year.
The court heard that the defendant appeared at Newry court in January on a charge arising out of domestic incident concerning his ex-partner.
She was a witness as was her ex-husband who went outside the court where Finn lost his temper and threatened to shoot both of them.
The male witness said he didn’t feel particularly intimidated and Finn said he would never have harmed any party.
What happened was witnessed by court security staff who intervened.
Later in the court in January he pleaded guilty to common assault and was given a suspended sentence.
A public prosecutor said they would be asking the court to consider a restraining order.
A barrister representing the defendant described his behaviour as ‘madness’ and added that Finn had been in a problematic relationship which was bad from the start.
He added that alcohol was used by both of them and they were constantly phoning the police. The relationship was now over.
The lawyer said that Finn continued to deny that he had an alcohol problem but he did need help to address his issues.
District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said this was ‘appalling behaviour’ as Finn made a ‘vindictive rant in public against these people’ and in the precincts of a court which was ‘reprehensible’.
He added that Finn had ‘lost the run of himself’ and emotions were high but there were a number of mitigating factors for him to step away from a custodial sentence.
But he warned the defendant: “This type of behaviour is intolerable and if you repeat it in the foreseeable future you will land up in prison.”
Judge Copeland said that looking at Finn’s record it was clear that alcohol abuse got him into trouble.
“The offer from the probation service you should grasp with both hands,” he added.
The judge imposed a probation order for 18 months with the condition Finn participates in any course put forward by his probation officer.
He also made the defendant the subject of a restraining order which will run for two years.