Belfast Telegraph

I'll use remand to preach, accused tells Northern Ireland court

By Nevin Farrell

A man told a court that being kept in custody gives him time to "preach the Gospel".

Joey McAuley (48), of no fixed abode, was speaking via video-link at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday from Maghaberry Prison.

He is charged with being disorderly at Wellington Street in the town on November 28, the day graffiti saying 'Bless this place Lord' was painted on a former Presbyterian church there that is being demolished. McAuley's bail was revoked earlier this month when an address he had given was found not to exist. During his court appearances, he has made a number of religious references.

Yesterday Deputy District Judge Liam McStay told McAuley - who is representing himself - that if he had a lawyer it would help his case.

McAuley said getting bail did not matter as it meant he had "some time to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

He insisted he had not done anything wrong, claiming there was "no justice", before telling the court: "I forgive you."

A prosecutor said the case was listed for a contest in February but there would be a further mention of the matter on January 26.

McAuley was remanded in continuing custody until then.

A prosecutor told a court sitting on December 8 that McAuley had been granted bail on the disorderly behaviour charge to reside at an address in Lurgan, which she added "doesn't exist".

Before that appearance, eyewitnesses said McAuley "preached" on the steps outside Ballymena Court for 10 minutes.

When he entered the courtroom that day, he clapped his hands loudly and shouted "Hallelujah" and other religious phrases. He continued to shout, and ignored District Judge Peter King's pleas to calm down.

As a result, his case was unable to proceed and he was taken to the cells. At the same courthouse, on December 15, when asked if he had obtained legal representation, McAuley said: "Aye, Jesus Christ."

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