Court hears man claims he had wine bottle 'for self-defence' during 11am disturbance in Randalstown

Court hears man claims he had wine bottle 'for self-defence' during 11am disturbance in Randalstown

A COURT heard a man claimed he had a wine bottle for his "protection" during an 11am disturbance in Randalstown.

Jonathan Somers (22), of Old Bleach Villas in Randalstown but now said to be living at a hostel in Belfast, was sentenced on charges including possessing a wine bottle as an offensive weapon and disorderly behaviour.

A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, police were called to a disturbance "in the street" at Old Bleach Villas at 11am on February 27 in 2021.

Police spoke to Somers and he said he had a wine bottle, which had been "concealed" in a tracksuit top, for "his protection".

Somers also had 93 Diazepam tablets and he admitted possession of Class C drugs.

When arrested he asked if his mother could bring him a drink of water and he then threw the glass which smashed on the road.

During a police interview he said he had the wine bottle for "self defence"; that he was "preempting an attack involving a weapon" and "maintained that he did not intend to cause harm but accepted that carrying it was unlawful," the prosecutor said.

Defence barrister Neil Moore said he viewed police bodycam footage and it appeared there had been "large scale disagreement between quite a number of neighbours".

The lawyer said it appeared "there had been a row, nothing to do with Jonathan Somers," and there was a "background of disruption".

When police arrived they spoke to people including Somers.

Mr Moore said: "Perhaps the most outrageous matter is when put in the police car he asks his mother for a glass of water. He gets out of the police car and he throws the glass towards the house that had been remonstrating with him.

"Somers was not playing the worst part of the entire disruption. There were many others involved".

District Judge Nigel Broderick handed down a five months prison term, suspended for a year, and told Somers: "Court takes a dim view of anyone who arms themselves with a weapon, especially even if it is for so-called self-defence, because that is a worrying feature of any case."

  • Main picture: General picture of a wine bottle.