A JUDGE was left shocked after a gym owner accused of breaching coronavirus regulations handed a birth certificate with what is believed to have been his bloody thumbprint on it into court.
District judge Eamon King told Newry Magistrates Court on Wednesday he had been given a number of items by Co Down man Declan Trainor, including a birth certificate "with a thumbprint on it... it looks like a bloody fingerprint".
Judge King said the document, which came with a postage stamp and a red seal, read: "I am settler Declan Trainor and do take control of the dominion Declan Trainor."
Rosie Fitzpatrick, the defendant's solicitor, said that she could "only apologise" for the incident.
The judge replied: "There's no need for that. Can you tell him to stop handing in rubbish?"
Trainor, from Rossmara Park in Warrenpoint, faces three charges of breaching Covid regulations last month.
He is alleged to have refused to close his gym - an offence that can carry a fine of up to £10,000 for each refusal.
The defendant previously indicated he wished to "challenge the jurisdiction" of the court, but on Wednesday Ms Fitzpatrick confirmed that he had instructed KRW Law to act on his behalf.
The 32-year-old previously represented himself during proceedings.
When he first appeared before the judge last month, he was asked if he had anything to say about the matters.
The defendant then replied: "My name is Declan. I am a living man. I was born on 11/08/88."
At the latest hearing, Trainor said he had provided the court with letters, one of which was a "request for clarification" that he wanted the judge to fill out.
He added that he wanted "disclosure" around the law concerning the alleged offences.
Trainor asked that he be supplied with the relevant materials within 28 days.
The defendant was charged with the offences after police arrested him at his business, The Gym, in Newry.
Videos shot by Trainor show around six officers entering the premises and detaining him as he attempts to debate the legality of their actions.
The clips, which attracted both vehement support and stinging criticism after being widely shared on social media, also show the defendant calling on the public to "take a stand" over restrictions introduced to hamper the spread of Covid-19.
In court on Wednesday, a prosecuting lawyer said the directing officer had requested further information about the case, including video evidence and photographs, and requested a four-week adjournment.
Ms Fitzpatrick asked that a £1,000 cash surety previously lodged as part of her client's release conditions be returned in a bail variation.
She said the money had come from the defendant's father, who was "under significant financial hardship". "Mr Trainor's business is suffering as a result of the current pandemic," Ms Fitzpatrick added.
"He is very much aware that his liberty is at stake if he doesn't comply with bail."
Despite her submissions, the variation was refused and the case was adjourned to February 17.