A CARNLOUGH man who left a relative and her daughter “severely traumatised” during a campaign of harassment has been given a five months jail term, suspended for three years.
Peter McCrystal (56), of Cranny View, has also been issued with a five year Restraining Order arising out of incidents which happened between May and July this year.
The defendant appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on November 1 for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to a charge of harassment.
The November 1 court heard the relative wanted McCrystal to read Victim Impact Statements to realise the “full impact” he had upon her and her daughter and District Judge Nigel Broderick passed the case for a time to allow that to happen.
When the case resumed the judge hoped McCrystal would fully reflect on the “dramatic effect” he had on the relative.
A prosecutor said the relative made a 999 call on May 14 to say McCrystal was at her front door and she believed he was attempting to force entry to the house where her teenage daughter was also present.
The relative said there had been an incident the previous evening in the The Waterfall Bar in Carnlough when, the relative alleged, McCrystal had threatened her.
There were further incidents which left the relative “unsettled”.
The court heard another family member had obtained a civil court order against McCrystal.
When interviewed by police, McCrystal denied the alleged incident in The Waterfall Bar and denied kicking the relative’s door, claiming he was there to “apologise”.
Defence barrister Stephen Law said there had a been a “family break-up” and said his client had taken time to read the Victim Impact Statements and to reflect on the matters.
Mr Law said the defendant had always accepted his responsibility and wished to apologise.
The full impact of what had gone on has now “settled upon his shoulders,” the court was told.
Mr Law said it was a “very sad” case which involved “a family torn asunder” with “allegations and counter-allegations”.
He said McCrystal had acted “rashly” when under the influence of alcohol but no longer wanted any prolonged difficulties.
The lawyer said the defendant lives a solitary existence and his main hobby was walking his dog.
Judge Broderick told McCrystal it was a “very serious matter” and it was quite clear the defendant had caused “untold emotional trauma on both victims”.
He hoped the defendant reflected on that and the judge added: “It is quite clear the victims have been severely traumatised through no fault of their own”.