Suspended jail sentence for County Antrim man convicted of harassment of school principal and 'impersonating a police officer'

Suspended jail sentence for County Antrim man convicted of harassment of school principal and 'impersonating a police officer'

A MAN convicted of 'impersonation of a police officer' and harassment of a school principal has been given a suspended jail sentence at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

Ryan Corry (41), with an address near Broughshane, had denied the charges but was recently found guilty after a court contest.

The particulars of the 'police officer' charge were that Corry 'with intent to deceive, impersonated a member of the police force, or makes a statement or did an act calculated falsely to suggest that he was such a member'.

The charges relate to May, 2021.

The defendant was back in court on Thursday for sentencing.

A prosecutor told Thursday's court that last May a school principal reported to police that Corry's "behaviour was concerning and that he had been falsely accused of having an affair".

The court heard emails had been sent by Corry which included "reference to this alleged affair".

The prosecutor continued: "The principal made it clear to police that it was very distressing and alarming and could ruin his reputation as a principal of a primary school".

The court also heard Corry had also emailed the primary school's "Board of Governors".

The court heard that in emails the defendant "called himself a police officer serving in the PSNI" and "in emails he offers advice as a police officer despite the fact that he is not a serving police officer".

The prosecutor said Corry was arrested for 'harassment' and 'impersonating a police officer'.

The court heard the defendant had a previous record.

The defendant was in court where a defence barrister said the current case had recently been contested.

The lawyer said the judge's "summing up of the case was that a lot of the evidence wasn't black and white but Your Worship accepted, also, the credibility of the prosecution witnesses".

The lawyer said the Judge had observed that the defendant had "lacked insight and objective analysis".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "Sadly, that has shown through in the Pre-Sentence Report" and added: "So it is not just me who thinks he lacks insight, it is also the view of the Probation Officer".

The defence barrister said that whilst Corry "respects" the decision of the court the defendant had not accepted "the finding of the court" regarding the guilty verdict.

Judge Broderick said: "The allegation was, wholly erroneously, that the victim in this case was having a relationship ...which I held was not substantiated by the evidence".

The judge said Corry was "in denial essentially" regarding the matters he was convicted of.

The defence lawyer told the court: "His instructions are that he is not guilty of these offences".

The lawyer said Corry had "problems in his life" and probably could benefit from "some statutory intervention" but the judge said the defendant had to "accept there is a problem and while he continues to deny there is a problem I can't see any resolution to his issues".

The judge said he would "leave something hanging over his head to act as an incentive not to do it again".

The judge told Corry: "These are serious offences".

Judge Broderick said the "conduct of harassment" would have caused the injured party "considerable concern and distress".

The judge said it was in the context of "somebody who has virtually no criminal record".

He handed down a five months prison term, suspended for two years; along with a two year Restraining Order.

Judge Broderick warned Corry if he re-offended he ran the "real risk of an immediate custodial sentence".