Portadown man, convicted of smashing up a van, said he couldn't make restitution as his wife wasn't talking to him

Craigavon Courthouse. Picture credit: Tony Hendron.
Craigavon Courthouse. Picture credit: Tony Hendron.

Noel Hamill, aged 57, from Ballyoran Park, Portadown, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates Court on Friday charged with criminal damage.


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District Judge Bernie Kelly said she had ordered an arrest warrant for Hamill as he had been convicted in his absence. The warrant was proven in Lisburn where Judge Watters had ordered a Pre-Sentence Report.

"When I look at his record his last entry is 2010 for an entirely different charge and I have to go back to 2005 to get his last conviction. It is not a case I would have ordered a Pre-Sentence Report for. It was a case that I wanted him here as it appeared he had ignored the summons.”

A Prosecutor told the court that on August 9 last year at around 7pm police received a report of criminal damage to a Mercedes Sprinter van. “It had been parked outside an address in Ballyoran Park, Portadown. The damage consisted of both side windows being completely smashed and two large cracks in the front windscreen.

"Police viewed CCTV of the incident showed a male causing damage to the vehicle by hitting it with what is believed to be a hammer. The injured party made a statement to police in which he named the male who caused the damage as the defendant.

"Police attended the defendant’s address who was still wearing the clothing that matched the original CCTV. He was arrested. The injured party said the front window was fixed by the insurance company and he didn’t have to pay the excess and the two side windows have been quoted at £240.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly asked if Hamill had the cash on him to pay the restitution but his solicitor said no but he could have it in about four weeks.

The District Judge said if he had saved a fiver a week since it happened, he would have the full restitution by now. “To say he needs another four weeks to pay restitution is not demonstrable remorse,” she said.

Hamill’s solicitor said: “He is a man of a certain age.” The District Judge said: “I don’t care what age he is. I am talking about £240. Mr Hamill - and don’t quote me four weeks - how fast can you get £240?”

Hamill stood saying: “The honest answer is when the wife starts talking to me again.” The District Judge said: “Ahh, right. So you have no independent means of your own.”

Hamill said he was on benefits and due to health problems his daughter and wife looks after his money. The solicitor said he would call Mrs Hamill.

After a brief interlude District Judge Kelly said: “If I give you a fortnight as pre-entry, that’s it. I’ll sentence him on September 29 with or without the money. It will make a huge difference to sentencing if I have got that money.”

The case was adjourned until September 29 for plea and sentence and restitution.