Belfast Telegraph

Gary Kirby: My Shame

NI21 aide and ex-LAD member's regret over assault on wife.

By Ciaran Barnes, Chief Reporter

An NI21 party official who spent two weeks in jail after being arrested for attacking his wife has spoken of his “shame”.

Gary Kirby – a former administrator of the satirical Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD) social media accounts – claims he did not know until last week that he had pleaded guilty to assault. He says he only found out after consulting court records following last week’s Sunday Life story.

Kirby, a researcher for NI21, said: “The fact is that the records show that I do have a conviction for common assault for which I was fined £100 and I accept that I must therefore live with that shame for the rest of my life.

“It was the first and last time that such an unacceptable incident happened.

“The incident happened at a time when I was in an extremely poor physical and mental state. On more than one occasion I was, because of various pressures, on the verge of taking my own life.”

Kirby, 51, also apologised to NI21, a party led by MLA Basil McCrea, and said he wanted to outline the background to “a sad and very embarrassing situation”.

He said neither he nor his wife were called to give evidence in court and “neither of us was exactly sure of precisely what had happened on the day or its implications”.

Kirby added: “We were simply glad that the trauma of an extremely humiliating experience had finished.

“I was not aware that I had entered a plea of common assault until I received the notices from the court on Thursday, which is why I had previously informed my employers that I had no conviction for assault.”

Gary Kirby was arrested in December 2008 after police were called to the home he shared with his wife in Bangor.

He urinated in the PSNI vehicle taking him to the local station and ended up spending two weeks on remand at Maghaberry Prison.

Kirby appeared at Ards Magistrates’ Court in May 2009 to plead guilty to assaulting his wife and criminal damage. A third charge of threatening to kill his wife was “dismissed without prejudice”.

When he was sentenced the following September a prosecutor said: “The defendant attacked her and struck her a number of times.”

To which Kirby’s lawyer replied: “The first count is violence against a woman. The criminal damage was particularly brazen, unpleasant and disrespectful.”

Fining Kirby £100 for assault and £250 for criminal damage District Judge Mark Hamill said: “You nave spent two weeks in prison. If you haven’t learned your lesson from that goodness knows what it is going to take.”

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