A man who told a judge he hoped he was murdered and called him a “dirty old b******” when he was jailed for burglary was yesterday jailed for an extra four months for contempt of court.
Downpatrick Crown Court heard that as well as the “extremely vulgar” abuse hurled in a tirade by 25-year-old Martin Smyth, he told Judge Piers Grant: “I hope ***** ***** gets you the same way he got Davey Black.”
After reading from a transcript of what happened after Judge Grant imposed a three-year term for burglary last Monday, prosecuting lawyer Sam Magee said the reference to “Davey Black”, the prison officer who was murdered by dissident republicans, “certainly brings a more sinister element” quite apart from the abuse.
Judge David Smyth QC told the court that in his mind, while it was a threat, it “wasn’t intended to be believed let alone carried out”.
Solicitor advocate Ciaran Toner said his client wanted to apologise to the court and to Judge Grant for his outburst, adding that in addition to drink and drug addiction problems, Smyth had been diagnosed with ADHD.
Smyth, from the Castlewellan Road in Newcastle, issued a personal apology, telling the court “I apologise for my outburst but this was down to the sentence that I received” – and offered to write to Judge Grant to say sorry.
Jailing him for four months, to be served consecutively to the three-year term, Judge Smyth told the defendant, if he had not said sorry, he would have been jailed for eight months.
Commenting that Smyth was “clearly volatile”, the judge added that he regarded the case as representing “vulgar abuse of the highest order including a threat which was uttered by you and which clearly was not intended to be taken seriously”.
Judge Smyth said he believed the three-year term, given the defendant’s record of 124 precious convictions, was “entirely justified” but that Smyth should have taken his contrary views to the Court of Appeal.
As he was led to the cells in handcuffs, a defiant Smyth was heard to mutter: “It still won’t hurt me.”
l Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of David Black last November were yesterday conducting a search in the Cranagh Bridge area of Aghagallon, near Lurgan. Police gave no further details.