A Moneymore man who threw bleach over clothes on his neighbours’ washing line has received a two-month suspended prison sentence.
Appearing at East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court for sentencing was Peter Francis Mitchell, 32, from Mountview Heights,
He was convicted of criminal damage of clothes belonging to a woman on May 23 last year.
The court heard Mr Mitchell’s solicitor tell the court that his client continued to deny culpability for the offence which he said would limit the court’s sentencing options.
Addressing the defendant, District Judge John Meehan said, “This is a nasty case ... where you covertly went out into your back garden and lobbed a container of bleach on the clothe’s line of a neighbour’s house. There is an impact on their sense of safety.
“You then required a full contest where you vilified the injured party’s husband and made an equally spurious claim that you had been ensured by police that you would hear nothing more about this (case).”
You’ve had the benefit of a suspended sentence before the aim of which was supposed to impress upon you the seriousness of this sort of behaviour
Judge Meehan then turned to Mr Mitchell’s criminal record, noting entries for drink driving in 2003, assaults in 2002 and 2007, as well as theft and attempted theft in 2009.
“Yet you maintain denial,” Judge Meehan continued, “even after a full contest. This shows a continued lack of remorse ... as if this simply did not happen as far as you are concerned.
“You therefore leave the court with the choice of either a monetary penalty or custodial sentence.
“You’ve had the benefit of a suspended sentence before the aim of which was supposed to impress upon you the seriousness of this sort of behaviour.
“Is there a reasonable prospect that you will not commit offences in the future?” he asked before handing down a sentence of two months in prison which he suspended for two years “with considerable reluctance”.
He also imposed a compensation order of £200 in respect of the injured party.
Bail for appeal was set at £200 with Judge Meehan adding the warning that “sentences may also be ‘upped’ on appeal”.