Ballymena man had demanded victim withdraw statement about assault or men would 'sort it out'

Ballymena man had demanded victim withdraw statement about assault or men would 'sort it out'

A BALLYMENA man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to 'intimidating' a witness by sending him a text message saying if he didn't withdraw a statement he made to police about being assaulted, males would come along to 'sort it out'.

David James Daniel O'Brien (34) committed the offence in October last year.

The defendant, who appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court via video link from prison, also admitted offences relating to a number of weeks earlier including assaulting the man he had sent the intimidating message to.

O'Brien further pleaded guilty to making a threat to kill another male; causing criminal damage at Mill Mews and possessing cannabis and Diazepam.

The defendant was in breach of two suspended sentences.

A prosecutor said a man said O'Brien damaged his door at Mill Mews and punched him in face and grabbed him by the throat.

A second person said O'Brien had kicked his door causing it to be "badly damaged".

When police spoke to the defendant he was intoxicated and he became "angry".

The prosecutor said in the presence of police the defendant made "several threats to come back and kill one of the witnesses".

A small amount of herbal cannabis and Diazepam were found.

The court also heard that in October one of the original victims received a text from O'Brien telling him to ring police and withdraw his statement in relation to assault and the defendant threatened that if didn't 'there would be two males in to sort it out for him'.

The prosecutor said it left the man "fearing for his safety".

The man contacted police and provided a screenshot of the message.

The court heard the defendant had been in custody since last October.

A defence barrister said with the time served the defendant could perhaps be given Probation.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said they were "serious charges especially the intimidation of a witness".

The judge said even if he imposed a prison term the defendant would effectively be "time served" and he put him on Probation for a year.