Petty thief due to start law degree days before he'll be sentenced for offences
A petty thief who has been jailed nine times for scores of convictions is set to put his experience of courts to good use - as he embarks on a law degree.
Sherman Wright (44), from Ballymena, was speaking outside the town's courthouse, where he is due to be sentenced at the end of the month.
He claimed he had turned his life around and now intended to stand on the other side of the dock as a lawyer.
The court was told he has secured a place at the University of Gloucestershire to study law and goes there on September 19. Ten days later, he will be back in court where he intends to plead guilty to disorderly charges.
Wright has been a regular in the court over the years. He has more than over 60 convictions and has been jailed nine times.
He was due to be sentenced yesterday, but his barrister, Stephen Law, said that the situation had been "overtaken somewhat" because Wright is now facing new charges after getting drunk while celebrating getting into university.
The lawyer said his client will be pleading guilty.
Judge Perry ordered the defendant to return on September 29 with "no more celebrating".
Mr Law said his client would fly back to appear in court "to apologise in person".
When first told of the law course last week, Judge Perry said he thought he needed to "take some smelling salts".
Wright is due to be sentenced for taking two bottles of aftershave worth £20 from Lloyd's Pharmacy in Ballymena in June last year. A short time before that, he stole two electric blankets from Poundstretcher.
Last week's court also heard a claim the defendant could "make use of his many hours at this court" as part of his law studies.
Outside Ballymena Courthouse yesterday, the defendant said: "I'm going to university on September 19. My family is over the moon, but most importantly there is light at the end of my tunnel because life was getting very dark and very grey. I am an opportunist and I'm going to grab this opportunity.
"Law is something I have always had an interest in because a couple of times I represented myself in court."
Wright aims to get his law degree and then "challenge from there on in" to see if he can practice law because of his criminal record of "something like 60 convictions for petty theft". He believes that is feasible and said he would not be doing the degree unless that could happen.
"I have been told there is every chance I will get employment in Ballymena by the time I come back," he added. "The chances are I could be back here representing adolescents and perhaps youths in youth courts and stuff."