Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

I'll face courts if that's what it takes, vows water pistol prankster

Philip with his plastic water pistol
Philip with his plastic water pistol

The young man at the centre of Northern Ireland's 'Watergate' has hit out at police after he was apprehended for shooting at people with a water pistol.

The 21-year-old could be prosecuted after police failed to see the funny side of his prank in Portstewart, Co Londonderry.

A file on the incident has been sent by police to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), who will consider whether or not to take court action.

If convicted, Philip Deazley will have a criminal conviction for disorderly behaviour as a result of what he said was "just a bit of harmless fun".

"I think it's an absolute joke," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"There were about 10 other people squirting with water pistols that night but I was the only one stopped.

"When the police stopped me they said I could pay an £85 fine for disorderly behaviour but I wasn't paying that for squirting a wee bit of water.

"I'll go to court if it comes to that."

Mr Deazley, from Omagh, Co Tyrone, was in the north coast town with a group of friends on Sunday, July 21.

As they drove along Portstewart's busy promenade he said he squirted some other friends using a large green and black water pistol. However, when he shot water at a stationary police Land Rover, Mr Deazley found himself in hot water with the officers inside.

The Land Rover's blue pursuit lights were activated and the car in which Philip was in stopped.

He added: "It wasn't dangerous and the windows were fully up.

"The other cars I squirted were stopped too and in a queue of traffic. Two police got out of the jeep and there was no talking to them.

"They said they would arrest all five of us in the car if we didn't say who it was so I said it was me.

"It was just a tiny bit of water, harmless fun. The whole thing is a complete joke."

A police spokeswoman said squirting water over other motorists could potentially cause a vehicle to crash.

But followers of the PSNI's North Coast Facebook page said the officers involved "should catch themselves on" and "concentrate on catching real criminals".

Others made tongue-in-cheek remarks about "police hypocrisy" given the use of high-powered water cannon over the Twelfth period.

One posted: "Got to be a joke. Squirting with intent? Grievous bodily wetting? Driving while damp?"

One of the victims of the water pistol shooters, Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend, said while those responsible did not mean any harm, their actions were potentially dangerous in a traffic situation.

The police spokeswoman added: "Police don't want to be killjoys and stop people having craic but it's our job to draw the line when things go too far.

"Some people might not take kindly to prankish behaviour and police were being proactive in this instance, preventing trouble from starting in the first place."

OTHER ARRESTS THAT RAISED EYEBROWS

* A failed court case against a man who forgot to pay for a handful of groceries left the taxpayer with a bill of more than £20,000 earlier this year.

Alastair Hetherington was dragged through the courts and put on trial for shoplifting over the unpaid items, which included two sausage rolls and milk. The 57-year-old was unanimously acquitted of stealing £57.55 worth of goods which he forgot to pay for.

DUP Peer Lord Morrow said the case was a shocking waste of money and should never have got to court.

* Police in Malawi said they arrested a 37-year-old man and charged him with breaching the peace after he allegedly called President Joyce Banda "stupid" last week.

Japhet Chirwa is believed to have called the head of state "stupid and a failure" after a failed bid to change the name in his passport. Chirwa has been charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace, which could carry a fine or a six-month custodial sentence.

* An American football player was arrested for allegedly barking at a police dog earlier this month. According to police, Antonio Morrison walked up to a police car's open window and barked at the dog named Bear.

When the dog barked back, police arrested the player for interfering with a police canine.

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