Belfast Telegraph

Man who preached outside Ballymena court and called on those in courtroom to 'repent' remanded into custody

By Nevin Farrell

There were extraordinary scenes inside and outside Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday when a defendant "preached" in the court grounds for 10 minutes and then shouted several remarks about God when he entered the courtroom.

Joey McAuley (48), whose address was given as no fixed abode, Ballymena, appeared at the court charged with disorderly behaviour on November 28 in Wellington Street in the town.

McAuley had previously been released on bail on the charge and when he arrived at the courthouse on Thursday morning, eye-witnesses said he stood inside the court grounds outside the court doors and "preached loudly for about 10 minutes".

When his case was called he created havoc when he entered the courtroom by shouting loudly whilst clapping his hands, punctuated by raising his fist in the air and at one stage he took off his coat.

McAuley continued to shout in the packed courtroom which included District Judge Peter King, prosecutors, defence lawyers, police, other officials and members of the public and said: "No justice in here brothers and sisters".

His case was unable to go ahead as he was taken to the cells after continuing to shout and ignore the judge's pleas to calm down.

Other remarks shouted by McAuley included: "Thank you Lord"; "Glory Lord"; and whilst in the dock he proclaimed: "Hallelujah" before he added: "You will be judged" and "repent".

He continued to shout and sing loudly from the cells, which are below the courtroom, for around an hour and the noise from the defendant was constant.

The noise could be heard in the courtroom throughout but it was not loud enough to disrupt proceedings.

Later, when the case was returned to, the judge said McAuley should remain in the cells.

Judge King told prison staff: "Don't bring him up, clearly he is in no fit state".

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

McAuley was not legally represented and no details were given to the court surrounding his original disorderly behaviour charge.

Judge King said he was not going to deal with McAuley for the "contempt" of court matters but said he was revoking bail because of the address issue.

McAuley was remanded in custody to appear back at the court via video link next week and eye-witnesses said as he was being led into a prison van he was still shouting "religious remarks".

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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