Court hears 'paranoid' Ballymena man had 'small hammer concealed in the front of his trousers'

Court hears 'paranoid' Ballymena man had 'small hammer concealed in the front of his trousers'

A BALLYMENA man who had a "small hammer concealed in the front of his trousers" when stopped by police had "paranoia feelings that perhaps other people, maybe, would have been out to get him," the town's Magistrates' Court.

Geoffrey Dunlop (26), of Lanntara, admitted possessing a hammer as an offensive weapon at Lanntara and being disorderly on March 16 this year.

He also admitted possessing Pregabalin without a prescription on another date and claimed he had been given the tablets by a "friend".

A prosecutor said on March 16 the defendant was stopped by police in Lanntara and the defendant, who was "highly intoxicated," was shouting and swearing in the street.

He initially told police he had the hammer, at 8.50pm, to fix a fence.

District Judge Nigel Broderick asked: "What is he doing with a hammer down his trousers?"

The defence lawyer admitted: "This idea that he had it to fix a fence is far-fetched, to say the least, and certainly you don't fix fences at that time of night".

The defence barrister said the defendant "had paranoia feelings that perhaps other people, maybe, would have been out to get him and it may be the case that he armed himself with that potential".

The lawyer said the defendant "seems to have turned things around" and is now "occasionally drinking" and "not taking any drugs".

Judge Broderick said: "It's a serous matter to be carrying a hammer, especially when it is concealed".

He told the defendant: "Your feelings of paranoia are probably an aggravating feature because it means that you had the weapon with the intention of using it. Whatever your concerns are about your personal safety, arming yourself with a weapon is not the answer and if you do it again you could go to prison".

Dunlop was given a four months prison term, suspended for a year.

  • Main picture: Ballymena Magistrates' Court.