Co Londonderry man ‘on cusp of custody’ over St Patrick’s Day arrest

The Holyland area of south Belfast
The Holyland area of south Belfast

A man who struck out at a police officer dealing with St Patrick’s Day disorder in Belfast is on the brink of being jailed, a judge has warned.

Conrad Sheerin, 24, launched a punch after being chased from the Holylands area of the city, the city’s magistrates’ court heard.

Deferring sentencing for assault on police and resisting arrest, District Judge Fiona Bagnall decided to see if he complies with a previously imposed probation order.

But she stressed: “He’s absolutely on the cusp of custody.”

Judge Bagnall told Sheerin any further misbehaviour will see “the house of cards fall down on you”.

The defendant, of Foreglen Road in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, was detained in Belfast on March 17.

Prosecutors said police patrolling the Holylands to deal with public disorder surrounding the St Patrick’s Day celebrations spotted him apparently fighting with another man.

It was claimed that Sheerin then broke off and ran towards the Stranmillis Embankment.

He tried to get away from a pursuing policeman by punching out with his arm, the court heard.

They both fell to the ground separately before Sheerin got back up and headed for Carmel Street where he was stopped again.

Defence barrister Liam McStay accepted it was an “alarming case”, adding that his client has had the advantages of a good education and employment.

Mr McStay described it as a classic case of someone who is “hard working and hard drinking”.

However, he urged the court to defer sentencing due to the probation imposed for a separate incident in Magherafelt.

Judge Bagnall responded that she was prepared to give Sheerin a chance, but warned that any further misbehaviour will lead to immediate custody.

Deferring the case until the end of March next year, she explained: “We will have had another St Patrick’s Day and a couple of festivals to test him.”