Ex-professional cricketer cleared of damaging locks

Rodney Ontong moved to Northern Ireland after his career ended
Rodney Ontong moved to Northern Ireland after his career ended

A former international cricketer has been acquitted of damaging locks on seven doors at his sheltered housing accommodation in Belfast.

South African-born Rodney Ontong had been accused of using either pencils or super glue to target other residents’ premises at the Elm Court complex.

But a judge dismissed the charge against the 61-year-old based on insufficient evidence that he was responsible.

Ontong captained Glamorgan during a first-class cricket career spanning two decades.

He moved to Northern Ireland after his sporting career was ended by a road accident in 1988.

A criminal damage charge was brought against him over the alleged incident on April 27 this year.

Pencils and glue were said to have been forced into seven front doors – at a cost £50 each to repair.

Contesting the allegations against him, Ontong told Belfast Magistrates’ Court he could not recall if he was present at the time.

His barrister, Mark Farrell, argued that CCTV footage does not show any damage being caused.

Mr Farrell added that only one complainant, a man in his 80s, claims to have witnessed activity.

“There’s no evidence to say pencils were used to damage these locks,” counsel added.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers ruled that the available footage failed to show any criminal act.

Throwing out the case, she said: “I’m prepared to give Mr Ontong the benefit of the doubt.”