Ballymena Court hears man (28) has spent eight and a half years out of the last ten in prison

Ballymena Court

A MAN who has spent eight and a half years out of the last ten in prison was detected with almost 200 Diazepam and Zopliclone tablets which he claimed he used a “prop” to deal with life outside.

Stephen McCauley (28), with an address listed as Rathgill Drive in Bangor, came to police attention in Carnlough on July 19 this year.

The defendant appeared via a video link from Maghaberry Prison at Ballymena Magistrates Court for sentencing on two charges of possessing Class C drugs.

A prosecutor said a member of the public approached police saying the defendant had nearly been struck by a car whilst crossing the road.

McCauley was located nearby and was unsteady on his feet; had glazed eyes and his speech was slurred.

When police searched him 158 diazepam and 33 zopiclone were in his backpack.

A defence lawyer said the incident “smacked of self-harm” and resulted in him in being recalled on prison licence.

In the last ten years, the lawyer said the defendant had been in custody for eight and a half of those which he said was “staggering”.

The lawyer said that had resulted in McCauley having a “residual loss of confidence” and tablets were “more of a prop” such was his inability to function on the outside as opposed to anything that was going to be given to others.

The defendant was given a two months jail term.

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