Councillor loses appeal over conviction for threat to TUV woman's husband
A councillor has lost a bid to clear his name after he was convicted of threatening to shove a glass bottle down the throat of the husband of a unionist politician.
Independent republican Padraig McShane was found guilty of being disorderly during a council meeting in which he threatened violence with a bottle of Glens of Antrim spring water.
The incident happened on the night a loyalist flag protest was held outside the offices of the former Moyle District Council in Ballycastle in 2012.
McShane (43) - who was later elected to the new Causeway Coast & Glens Council - denied the charge but was convicted after a contest in May and fined £500.
At Antrim County Court yesterday his appeal against the disorderly behaviour conviction failed - although his fine was reduced to £100.
The court heard McShane, of Whitehall Avenue, Ballycastle, had a criminal record, including disorderly behaviour and assault convictions, and that he had attended anger management courses.
The County Court heard from witness Stephen McKillop, who said he sometimes travelled to council meetings with his wife Sharon, a TUV councillor.
He said he was approached outside the chamber by McShane who said: "Keep you running you wee b****** ye, you and that wee b**** of a wife of yours."
Mr McKillop said he was shocked and replied: "I will not be running from you."
He said later in the public gallery at the council meeting McShane approached him and said: "We know all about you, you better watch yourself." He said he took it as a "serious threat".
Mr McKillop said the councillor then walked to his seat a short distance away and lifted a bottle of water. He told the court that while drawing his hand back as if to throw it, McShane said: "I'll split you with this bottle you wee b******."
He said he put his hands up as he thought it was going to be thrown, although it wasn't.
He said council chairwoman Sandra Hunter said "right councillor McShane, sit down and behave", and the meeting went on as normal.
Former SDLP councillor Catherine McCambridge told the court that during a tea break she was chatting to Ms Hunter "when I heard her intake her breath and say: 'These boys are going to fight'".
Mrs McCambridge said she then saw McShane getting to his feet with a glass bottle in his hand and looking towards the public gallery. She said McShane said "if you don't shut your mouth I will shove this bottle down your throat", or "effing throat", or something along those lines.
In the witness box McShane claimed there were around 18 people in the chamber and he believed the allegations against him were a "vendetta" and "politicking".
He denied he told Mr McKillop to keep running; denied saying he knew all about him, and said the bottle incident "never happened".
He alleged the court case was pursued to try to ensure he was not able to stand for election to the new Causeway Coast & Glens Council to pave the way for the SDLP to get a seat.
But Judge Desmond Marrinan QC said he accepted Mrs McCambridge's evidence.
Afterwards McShane said: "Certainly I am going to review my legal options again because I know exactly what took place on the night and I certainly want the truth to be put out there."