Loose horse in Coalisland leads to disorderly behaviour charge

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A Coalisland man has been given a suspended jail sentence of one month after pleading guilty to disorderly behaviour and to allowing a horse to wander.

Stephen Quinn, 47, from Bellavale Terrace, shouted verbal abuse at two female staff from the Housing Executive office after they alerted police to a horse wandering in the Coalisland area on March 31.

During the case, which was heard at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, the court was told that the females felt so threatened by Quinn’s behaviour that they were forced to lock themselves in their car and phone 999. However, by the time police arrived, Quinn had fled the scene.

On April 6, police received reports of another horse wandering, this time in the Mourneview Crescent area.

On this occasion, three people arrived and claimed to be in charge of the horse, including Quinn, who proceeded to verbally abuse the police officers. He was arrested on two accounts of disorderly behaviour.

According to police, Quinn apologised for his behaviour during a subsequent interview and appeared remorseful.

The defence solicitor said that Quinn accepted that his behaviour was out of order, and had not been aware of its effect on the two HE officers.

However, District Judge John Meehan pointed out that the two women had to lock themselves in the car during the altercation.

The solicitor went on to explain that although Quinn owned the horse, another person had taken over responsibility of caring for it.

Each time he was called out to take charge of the animal, he grew more annoyed, said the solicitor.

He had protested against the police impounding the horse at the police stables, to the cost of £450. However, this did not excuse his behaviour for which he apologised to the court, added the solicitor.

Although, Quinn had amassed a previous criminal record, the majority of the offences occurred in the 1990s and there was a significant period of non-offending.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Meehan said that Quinn would present to any female as a person of considerable physical resources, and that only a bully would be incapable of understanding the effect of his behaviour, which the judge described as ‘intolerable’, and beyond a mere monetary fine in terms of punishment.

As Quinn had been declared unfit for community service, the judge imposed a suspended prison sentence for the disorderly behaviour shown to the two HE staff.

He also fined Quinn £200 for the second disorderly behaviour offence, and a further £200 for allowing an animal to wander.

In addition, Judge John Meehan imposed the offender’s levy of £15.