Man who was fined £800 for publishing picture of a judge sitting in court faces new charges

Man who was fined £800 for publishing picture of a judge sitting in court faces new charges

A MAN recently fined £800 after being convicted of publishing a photograph on Facebook of a judge sitting in court which was accompanied by the comment 'wld love da hit him a dig in chin the w*****,' is due back before a court in connection with driving matters.

Lionel Adrian Close (34) - formerly with an address in Newtownards but which is now listed as Owenreagh Drive in Newtownabbey - is accused of driving whilst disqualified; failing to provide a breath sample and using a Ford Ka car without insurance in Bangor in October this year.

The photo case had involved a picture of the judge who is normally resident at Newtownards Magistrates Court.

That judge has not been sitting at Ards Court in recent days and Close's new case was mentioned in Newtownards in front of visiting District Judge Amanda Brady.

A defence lawyer told the Court Close was in custody on remand.

There was no video link from prison operating at the court that day and Close did not appear for the new proceedings.

The defence lawyer said Close was prepared to plead guilty to the driving charges but he was not sure if Judge Brady wanted to deal with the matter in the absence of the defendant as he was "presently in quarantine" in prison.

Judge Brady said she could not sentence somebody in their absence.

The court heard that given the defendant's record there was a question over whether the case will remain in the Magistrates Court or go to the Crown Court.

The court heard the resident judge is due back at Newtownards Magistrates Court  on the week of December 20.

Close's case has been adjourned to Newtownards Magistrates Court on December 22.