Prison sentence for ‘flagrant, brazen and audacious theft’ by Cookstown man

Dungannon Courthouse
Dungannon Courthouse

An unnamed youth has been jailed in the Young Offenders’ Centre for his part in a joyride in Cookstown.

Appearing before East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court in Dungannon alongside the youth was Curtis Burnside, 20, from Beechway.

The court heard how the duo took the car without the authority of its owner from a car park in Cookstown on September 5th last year.

They caused significant damage to the vehicle “while illegitmately taken” before abandoning it.

Appearing on behalf of the youth was Mr Craig Patton. He told the court that his client continued to deny any involvement.

“I would ask that the court take into account that he is now in employment... and that may go to the wayside if he is sent to immediate custody.

“Having something hanging over his head may give him more insight.”

Mr Blaine Nugent appeared on the behalf of Burnside. On the morning that the contest was due to take place, his client had pleaded guilty to aggravated taking and causing damage to a vehicle as well as having no licence or insurance.

“I have to accept that he is two years older than (his co-accused) and that he was the driver of the vehicle,” Mr Nugent said.

“The report says that there is a low likelihood of his reoffending.

“He has never been in employment and, in terms of disposal, he has ruled out a community-based order and has tied the hands of the court.”

Reminding the court that no restitution had been paid to the injured party, District Judge John Meehan told Burnside that his had been “a flagrant, brazen and audacious theft”.

“I do remember your insolent attitude in court, the supercilious manner in which you met the matter.

“You took this car and damage it, and then simply walk off. You then treat people (who appeared in court) as liars.

“You will take on board that you are in real jeopardy of your freedom.”

He then handed down fines totalling £260, a 12 month driving ban, and a one month sentence in the Young Offenders’ Centre which he suspended for two years.

Turning his attention to the youth, Judge Meehan commented, “You simply decided to run through to contest... with an insolence towards those who came to court.

“You have had the benefit of a suspended sentence before... and you threw away any credit by denying the matter.

“Only imprisonment will put the brakes on your anti-social behaviour,” he said as he handed down a one month sentence in the Young Offenders’ Centre. He also activated the suspended sentence and imposed a £25 offender’s levy.

Bail for appeal in the youth’s case was set at £100.