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Man Has ‘Gone Off The Rails’ Since His Criminal Record Meant He Was Unable To Join His Family Who Emigrated

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PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON

A man had “gone off the rails” and is now “homeless” after his criminal record meant he was unable to join the rest of his family who emigrated to New Zealand, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard on Monday.

Brendan William Paul Callan (31), who had an address listed on court papers as Cranfield Court, Portstewart, pleaded guilty to being disorderly at a shop at Bushmills Road, Coleraine, on Sunday. Callan was brought to the courtroom from the cells and a prosecutor said police were called to the shop on Sunday afternoon after staff asked for assistance in dealing with the defendant who was intoxicated.

He had been swearing at staff and then swore at police and despite being warned to moderate his behaviour he told officers to “f**k off”.

Defence solicitor Don Mahoney said there was a “rather unusual” background.

“His entire family emigrated to New Zealand and due to his criminal record he was unable to join his family out there. Almost overnight he found himself on his own,” said the solicitor. Mr Mahoney said that was a number of years ago and since then Callan’s life had “spiraled out of control in terms of alcohol”.

He said his client was recently released from custody after a drink driving conviction and is now “homeless” and was “couch surfing” with friends.

The lawyer said since being released from jail Callan had not yet had the opportunity to receive benefits.
District Judge Paul Copeland told the defendant he was facing prison and when he asked Callan if he would go straight to the Probation Service offices if released, the defendant said would go “Straight there”.

Handing Callan a one year conditional discharge the judge said: “I’m going to give you a chance. I’m told you are making a bit of an effort to get yourself sorted out but you have gone off the rails”.

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