Man who overdosed twice at Ballymena Courthouse returns to building for sentencing on his birthday

This was John Shields being taken to an ambulance outside Ballymena Court on a previous date.

A drug addict who overdosed on two separate dates on previous dates at Ballymena Courthouse and had to be taken away by ambulance was back in the building on Thursday for sentencing – his 27th birthday.

John Kenneth Shields of Condiere Terrace in Connor, was given a five months prison term, suspended for two years; banned from driving for four years and fined £100.

In March last year there had been an accident at Ballymena Road in Doagh and an ambulance had been called after a fence was damaged and a vehicle was in a field.

The defendant said he had driven after taking “medication”.

He was taken to Antrim Area Hospital and a box of prescription drugs not in his name was found.

He had a number of drugs in his system.

He admitted offences of driving whilst disqualified; driving whilst unfit and absence of insurance.

Shields also committed offences in Ballymena town centre in May last year.

He had admitted a number of charges including driving while disqualified and failing to stop for a police officer who was on a bicycle.

Shields had struck another vehicle and had driven on.

A prosecutor said security staff at the Tower Centre said a male who appeared to be under the influence was driving a Ford Fiesta.

Police were looking for the vehicle when a report came in that a Volkswagen Golf was struck by a Ford Fiesta in Ballymoney Street, Ballymena.

The prosecutor said a police cyclist signalled for Shields to stop but the direction was not complied with.

Shields’ vehicle was abandoned nearby.

Shields later told police he had no memory of the incident but when presented with evidence he accepted he must have done it.

At a previous hearing, defence barrister Michael Smyth said Shields had fallen ill during earlier court appearances.

Mr Smyth had said: “He has twice been taken away from Ballymena Courthouse in an ambulance. He overdosed during the period of time he was waiting to be dealt with, such was the severity of his addiction”.

The lawyer said Shields had a “fascination with trying to fix up cars to try and sell them on for profit”.

Mr Smyth said his client would then use that cash to “try and pay for his drug addiction”.

The lawyer told the court last year the defendant was a user of GHB (gammahydroxybutrate) and Diazepam but had been attending addiction services at Railway Street in Ballymena.

Sentencing had been deferred until this week.

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