Ballymena man carrying snooker ball in bag which he called his 'just in case' said it was for his own 'protection'

Ballymena man carrying snooker ball in bag which he called his 'just in case' said it was for his own 'protection'

A BALLYMENA man who referred to a snooker ball in a bag as his 'just in case,' claimed he had it for his 'protection'.

Mark LeBlanc (46), of Larne Road, admitted possessing a 'cosh type weapon' on February 7 this year.

A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, police received a report that a man was in possession of a "taser resembling a gun" in the Chichester Park area of the town.

Police located the defendant at Larne Road and when he was searched he had a "cosh" - a small bag with a snooker ball inside secured with an elastic band - and the defendant referred to as his 'just in case and said he kept it for his "protection".

A defence barrister said LeBlanc had been a "drug user many years ago and his fear of being attacked in the community is a hangover from his association with various people in the past".

The lawyer said the defendant had been attacked before and "rarely leaves the house".

District Judge Nigel Broderick told the defendant: "This is a bad offence. You can't go round with snooker balls down socks. That is clearly an offensive weapon only for one purpose and that is to inflict significant injury".

He noted the defendant had a previous offensive weapon conviction regarding a 'taser' in 2015.

The judge added: "You seem to have a predisposition for carrying things for your so-called protection. Do this again you will go to prison".

The defendant was given a five months prison term, suspended for two years.