A 20-year old chef, with a ‘notorious’ and long history of violence, has been given 200 hours of community service after calling police ‘orange bastards’ and struggling violently and screaming outside a Cookstown bar.
Martin Bell, 20, from Ballyronan Road, appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. He was charged with disorderly behaviour from an incident that arose on August 24 last year in Church Street, Cookstown.
The court was told that police were conducting a routine inspection at Moe’s Bar when the bar manager had to ask the heavily intoxicated defendant to leave the premises after he began shouting at the police officers.
Afterwards, Bell approached police outside the bar and called them ‘f**king wankers’. When he was cautioned for disorderly behaviour, Bell held a mobile phone in front of an officer’s face as if he was video-recording.
When police later passed the defendant on the street, he shouted ‘orange bastards’ at them. He was arrested and lunged towards the police, who feared a biting attack, the court was told.
When Bell was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car, he had to be physically restrained after screaming and struggling violently for the entire length of the journey to the police station.
It emerged in court that Bell, who has a long history of assault and disorderly behaviour, had admitted in a pre-sentence report, dated from before the latest charge, that he had abused alcohol and drugs, but now had his life in order.
District Judge John Meehan said the disorderly behaviour charge directly contradicted this belief that he had managed to gain control of his life.
His defence solicitor, in seeking mitigation, described the incident as ‘verbal nonsense’.
However, Judge Meehan said that he was in no fear of being contradicted when he described Bell as being ‘notorious’ in the community for his long history of alcohol abuse and violence, in particular against police officers .
He said there was an added danger in behaving aggressively towards police in a bar, when it might provoke other patrons to join in.
His solicitor said that Bell had secured employment as a chef, and was well thought of by his employers. He had kept himself trouble free since the charge.
The judge, however, expressed concern that the incident might be part of a dangerous pattern of deteriorating behaviour, and it was clear that Bell might have issues still to resolve. He offered Bell the chance to address these issues by giving him a community service order of 200 hours, which he acknowledged was a high number.