A BALLYMENA man who is now getting assistance from a Christian organisation in Armoy has brought a "dark chapter" to an end, a defence barrister told the town's Magistrates Court.
Defence barrister Stephen Law was speaking about Gary Mairs (45), of Carndale Meadow, who was in court for sentencing on charges including possessing a pitchfork as an offensive weapon at Carndale Meadows in October last year.
In July 2020 Mairs was disorderly at Cullybackey Road in the town and assaulted to police officers.
In January this year he was disorderly and 'wasted police time'.
On that occasion Mairs had phoned police on the 101 number to report a theft and then rang the 999 emergency number to ask were police where.
An hour later he phoned 101 and said he was "going to do something stupid in 15 minutes".
Police found him sitting on a window sill on a first floor at his home address.
A "police negotiator" was tasked and when "talked down" Mairs said he had "just wanted to chat to police".
About an hour later he called police again saying he had a "knife to someone's throat".
Police found him on a street and he was "screaming and shouting obscenities".
Mr Law said Mairs had stayed out of trouble and a pre-sentence report was "one of the most positive" he had seen.
He said Mairs had "immersed himself with High Kirk Church" and the Armoy Christian group.
"This bad, dark, chapter in his life seems to have been lifted. He has thrown himself into pro-church activities".
Mr Law said Mairs had also "tempered" alcohol consumption.
District Judge Nigel Broderick told the defendant: "When I read the report it was very positive and that is to your credit, so hopefully your involvement with those who are keeping you on the straight an narrow is having the desired effect".
Mairs was given a four months prison term, suspended for one year, which the judge hoped would act as an incentive "not to go back to your old ways".
- Main picture: Ballymena Magistrates Court.