Smirking Ballycastle man gets 15 months custodial sentence

A BALLYCASTLE man smirked as he was jailed for 15 months at a court in Coleraine.

19-year-old Benjamin Curry of Kemp Park was jailed for persistently stealing alcohol in Ballycastle.

Before he was led back to the Young Offenders Centre - where he was already on remand - Curry was told by District Judge Richard Wilson: “You are still smiling. I hope you will still be smiling when you start to act like a civilised human being.”

Offences occurred last October at a Spar shop and in April he committed offences at the Co-Op and in June he returned to the same store, North Antrim Magistrates Court in Coleraine was told.

In one case police viewed CCTV images and they showed the defendant placing a bottle of vodka down his trousers and leaving the store.

On another occasion a male member of staff challenged Curry because he was barred but he continued to come into the shop and ran off with a bottle of vodka.

A defence lawyer said it was a case of another young man for whom alcohol is a major problem.

He said when Curry is out of the Young Offenders Centre he goes out drinking all day with friends and engages in the “impulsive” pursuit of more alcohol.

He said Curry was already on remand in the Young Offenders Centre for the offences before the court and other matters.

He said custody did not seem to have an affect on Curry but said his mother was prepared to “stand by” the defendant” when he is released.

Watched on by other people from the Ballycastle area who had been before the court Curry was smiling during the hearing which prompted Richard Wilson to say: “You seem to be highly amused by all these proceedings - a great smirk on your face most of the time.”

Mr Wilson activated a suspended sentence which was added to the custodial term imposed for the latest offences bringing Curry’s time to serve in the Young Offenders Centre to 15 months.