TWO men who brandished a hockey stick and a metal bar during an early morning disturbance outside a Ballymena bar have been fined at the town’s Magistrates Court.
They are Nicolae Voicu (28), of Hill Street, Ballymena and Ionut George Toader (24), with an address at Castle Street in the town.
The charges they admitted relate to February 9 this year.
Both men had the assistance of a Romanian interpreter at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Voicu pleaded guilty to having a hockey stick as an offensive weapon and Toader a metal bar.
Voicu admitted being disorderly in the bar and Toader’s disorderly charge referred to the street outside.
Voicu also admitted assaulting a female and also being disorderly on the street.
A prosecutor said police received a report of an ongoing disturbance outside a pub where two men were brandishing weapons.
A female staff member said Voicu had assaulted her when he was asked to leave the bar following an argument with another male inside the pub.
Voicu told police he had returned with the hockey stick because he was angry and thought he was “being singled out”.
The court heard that when Voica went home he told Toader what happened and the men went to the bar and were shouting aggressively and “swinging weapons” outside.
A defence solicitor said the men wished to apologise for the “out of character” incident which involved “too much drink”.
He said initially “words had been exchanged” between Voicu and a “third party” and the defendant had refused to leave the pub as he “felt he was being singled out because he was a foreign national”.
The solicitor claimed the assault on the female member of staff was a ‘technical assault’.
The lawyer said Voicu had been angry and when the “red mist came down” he and Toader had gone to the bar to “remonstrate” and “thankfully” the hockey stick and metal bar “were not used”.
He said the men realised they should not “take the law into their own hands”.
Fining Voicu £400 and Toader £200, District Judge Nigel Broderick said it had been “very poor behaviour”.
He said the men had armed themselves with a hockey stick and metal bar but “thankfully there was no more damage caused”