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Coleraine cafe forced to barricade doors from ‘extremely intoxicated’ woman, court told


Accused handed three-month prison sentence

Accused handed three-month prison sentence

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Accused handed three-month prison sentence

A cafe in Coleraine had to close and barricade its doors to protect customers from a drunk woman, a court heard today .

Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, also heard that having left the Culture Cafe on Thursday morning, 40-year-old Ciara Craig approached two elderly women on their way to a church service, taking sunglasses from the head of one of the ladies.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court, however, that as police approached her, Craig handed them back.

Appearing at court by videolink from police custody, Craig, of no fixed abode, entered a guilty plea to using disorderly behaviour on Church Street.

A prosecuting lawyer outlined how Craig was “verbally abusive to customers and scaring them” in the coffee shop which she refused to leave.

When she did leave, staff closed and barricaded the doors, pointing her out to police “shouting and remonstrating with members of the public” just down the street from the cafe.

“She was extremely intoxicated,” said the lawyer, adding that the lady whose sunglasses Craig removed declined to make any complaint and went on to her church service.

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While defence solicitor Keith Kyle urged District Judge Steven Keown not to jail Craig, describing the offence as “more nuisance behaviour than anything”, the judge revealed that Craig has 190 convictions including 41 for similar offending, she had breached previous probation orders and was given a suspended sentence two months ago.

“I’m not saying I’m not sympathetic but it’s a balancing act between someone who needs but doesn’t avail of help and protecting members of the public from this behaviour,” said the judge.

In total, Craig was handed a three-month prison sentence and DJ Keown said he hoped “she dries out while in custody and gets the help she badly needs” when she gets out.

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