Assault man was drunk at court hearing

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Banbridge Court has heard how a row over a quilt resulted in a Dromore man assaulting a partner.

Ian Lee from Barban Heights appeared in the dock of the local court last Thursday charged with assault and breaching an occupation order.

He was sentenced to three months in prison which was suspended for two years and ordered to pay his victim £500 compensation.

Lee interrupted court proceedings when his barrister informed District Judge Paul Copeland that his client was intoxicated and unable to comprehend the business before the court.

However, Judge Copeland said if Lee was “voluntarily intoxicated” this was not a reason to go out of the court list and he put the matter back for an hour saying “time is a great healer on many occasions.”

A PPS Prosecutor outlined details of the case stating how at 5.30am on 26 August last, police were tasked to attend Beechgrove, Dromore after complaints from a female injured party that Lee had punched her in the head.

Officers noted bruising to her forearm and head. She said she had invited Lee into her house and they had been drinking before an argument began over a quilt.

Barrister Mr Byrne said the pair had been a couple and had just returned from a weekend away to Bangor.

He said alcohol was an issue concerning both parties and despite there being a non molestation in place since March 2013, both parties “gravitate to each other.”

Mr Byrne said both parties had gone to sleep and then the injured party woke up and indicated she wanted to take the quilt off Lee as “he smelled” and she “did not want the quilt to get stained with the smell.”

Mr Byrne said his client had extensive difficulties with alcohol and had recently been hospitalised with liver complaints.

“He is from Larne originally and has been living in Dromore now for five years. When coherent he is quite a positive individual and with a level of intelligence. He last worked four years ago.”

Referring to the fact that Lee intended to contest the charges, District Judge Mr Copeland said, “You pressed this case to a point of having it tried in the hope she might give up and go away.

“When it gets to hearing you fetch up at the court house tanked up and hoping it will go away.

“But that hasn’t happened either. You can’t dictate the progress of events by tricking and forging your way through this