Man caused criminal damage to electronic tag

A man told police he had broken an electronic monitoring tag whilst “messing about with his girlfriend”.

David Coleman (35), of Fountain Place, Ballymena, admitted a charge of causing criminal damage to an electronic tag in relation to February 26 this year.

The defendant was present at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where a prosecutor said Coleman had been required to wear a tag as part of bail conditions.

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Police were tasked to the defendant’s home after a report that the device had been “tampered” with and it was found the tag, worth £180, was “broken in pieces” and the strap removed from both ends.

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A new tag was fitted at a cost of £180.

The prosecution lawyer said that when arrested the defendant told police the tag was damaged when he had been “messing about with his girlfriend that afternoon”.

A defence barrister said the damage had been due to “recklessness rather than intent to cause the damage” but the defendant was pleading guilty.

The lawyer said the defendant is on benefits and added that the last entry on his record dated back to 2018 but added he didn’t have a recent copy of Coleman’s convictions.

At Thursday’s court the defendant was given a four months prison term, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay £180 compensation for the broken tag.