A MAN with 236 previous convictions who became involved in an altercation inside a courthouse and then was disorderly with police has been given a suspended jail term.
Patrick James Peter Morgan (45), with an address at Letterkenny Road in Derry/Londonderry, has pleaded guilty to being disorderly at Coleraine Courthouse.
The offence was committed on the afternoon of October 3 this year and he was back in the same courthouse on Monday in connection with the case.
A prosecutor said police were alerted by court security staff about an altercation in a public area in the building on October 3 between two males – Morgan and another unknown person.
Morgan was swearing and when police warned him about his behaviour he said he “didn’t f**king care”.
When arrested he continued to be very irate and was swearing and making threatening comments to officers and had to be taken to the ground before going to Coleraine Police Station.
A defence solicitor said the incident happened in the afternoon when Morgan was attending court in relation to a bail application involving others and the initial dispute had arisen when he “took a wrong turn” at the top of the stairs in the courthouse.
The lawyer said Morgan then “failed the attitude test” with police at a time when most members of the public had left the building as it was the afternoon.
District Judge Peter King told Morgan that with 236 previous convictions he was “no stranger to the courts and you would know what behaviour is expected”.
The judge said a very dim view was taken of such behaviour and had the trouble actually happened inside a courtroom he would have sent Morgan straight to prison for contempt of court.
Any trouble in a courthouse clearly crossed the custody threshold said Judge King but he suspended a three months prison term for two years.