Belfast Telegraph

Beer fling accused ordered to stay sober at father's funeral

By Alan Erwin

A man accused of stealing more than £100 worth of groceries and throwing a tin of beer over an arresting police officer has been allowed to attend his father's funeral.

A judge granted bail to Philip Hedley (32) but added that the least he could do was turn up to the funeral sober.

Imposing a ban on alcohol and drugs, Mr Justice Weir: "I don't intend to let him out now to go on a binge.

"The least he could do is to turn up sober for the funeral of his father." Hedley allegedly lashed out with a flurry of punches at the officer after being detained at an Asda store in Newtownards, Co Down.

Although his barrister claimed the policeman landed several blows in the exchange, a judge questioned what alternatives did the officer have.

Mr Justice Weir said: "He's not supposed to stand there with his two hands the one length as this man pummelled him."

Hedley, of Regent Street in Newtownards, faces charges of theft and assault on police over the incident on January 8.

It was alleged that he went into the store with a woman before stealing goods valued at £118.

Prosecution counsel claimed that when the pair were challenged both appeared drunk and were swigging from cans of Budweiser.

The judge ruled that Hedley was not to be released from custody until tomorrow when his father's funeral is to take place.

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