Councillor 'threatened to shove glass bottle down throat' of TUV woman's husband on night of loyalist flag protest, court hears
A Co Antrim councillor "threatened to shove a glass bottle down the throat" of the husband of a TUV woman inside the council chamber, a court has heard.
Cllr Padraig McShane - who resigned from Sinn Fein in 2010, becoming an Independent - denies the charge of disorderly behaviour at Moyle District Council's offices in Ballycastle.
The alleged incident came on a night when loyalists mounted a protest outside the council building, Sheskburn House, in support of Union Flag protesters.
Stephen McKillop was in the public gallery on December 10, 2012, where his wife Sharon McKillop is a Traditional Unionist Voice councillor. He claimed he felt afraid when McShane lifted a bottle and threatened to throw it at him during a recess as councillors sipped coffee.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Tuesday, McShane (42) of White Hall Avenue in Ballycastle, contested the charge.
Stephen McKillop claimed that on his way into the council meeting he was met by McShane who "walked straight over to me and put his head right into my head and said: 'Keep you running you wee b-----d ye, you and that wee bitch of a wife of yours'."
Mr McKillop said he was "terrified" but replied: "I will not be running from you".
He said when he was later in the public gallery at the council meeting, McShane approached him and said: "We know all about you, you better watch yourself".
Mr McKillop said the councillor then took his seat a short distance away and lifted a bottle of water and whilst drawing his hand back as if to throw it said: "I'll split you with that bottle you wee b-----d".
Mr McKillop added: "I put my hands up. I thought he was going to throw it." The bottle was not thrown.
As he was about to leave the meeting, continued Mr McKillop, McShane pushed by, saying "get the f--k out of his way".
"I was very agitated and very nervous. I took the threat seriously because I was involved in the security forces. I thought it was very inappropriate for a councillor to behave in the way he did."
McShane's defence barrister disputed the version of events - alleging a counter-claim that Mr McKillop had threatened McShane, saying: "You'll be done" and "We know where you live now and you'll be done".
Mr McKillop denied this, saying: "I never said those words".
Catherine McCambridge, an SDLP councillor, took to the stand.
She said she saw McShane getting to his feet and lifting a glass bottle while facing the public gallery.
She said he raised his arm with the bottle and said to someone behind her in the public gallery: "If you don't shut your f--king mouth I will shove this (bottle) down your throat or down your neck".
Mrs McCambridge said council chairperson, Ulster Unionist Sandra Hunter, said something like "boys settle down" and McShane re-took his seat.
McShane's defence made an application for the case to be brought to a halt - arguing that for a charge of disorderly behaviour it had to have happened in a public place and there were issues about whether the council chamber was such a place.
District Judge Liam McNally adjourned the case so the issue can be examined and later in the month a date will be fixed for a resumption of the case.
Belfast Telegraph Digital