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Poodle-swinging thug up in court for driving to police station while disqualified

Dopey Darren Callaghan was previously jailed for assaulting his girlfriend and for swinging her pet poodle over his head and over a garden fence
Darren Callaghan

Darren Callaghan

Steven Moore

Poodle-swinging thug Darren Callaghan appeared in court this week after he drove to a police station to sign for bail while serving a driving ban!

The 34-year-old admitted driving to a cop shop while disqualified on July 19 last year when he was detected in a Volkswagen Golf in Omagh and his vehicle was stopped by a police stinger device.

And he carried out his dopey criminal act before he got a bash over the head with a plank!

Callaghan, who we revealed last month was hospitalised for four weeks after he was allegedly battered with a plank of wood, was sentenced to six months behind bars and banned from driving for 12 months at Omagh Magistrates Court.

In fact, it emerged Callaghan, of Ballynahatty Road, has several 'driving while disqualified' charges facing him in the courts.

Defence barrister Ciaran Roddy said Callaghan "candidly" accepted he took to the road on the day of the offence in the full knowledge he was disqualified. He added that the defendant was going to the police station as part of his bail conditions.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: "That makes the offence even worse."

Jailing him, District Judge Kelly said: "Not only did he drive while on bail, he drove while facing a deferred sentence to answer bail. There is only one penalty I can impose."

Callaghan, looking dishevelled, was following proceedings by videolink, but was ordered to present himself at the courthouse within two hours to go to jail.

However, within an hour his defence applied for bail to appeal the sentence, which was granted in the sum of £500 on the condition he doesn't travel in a private vehicle.

During the hearing, reference was made by his defence team to Callaghan suffering a "brain trauma" and his solicitor Michael Fahy said he had to attend hospital appointments in Belfast and Enniskillen and could only travel by a private car.

Judge Kelly said: "He'll be back behind the wheel in no time."

Mr Fahy replied: "He won't be. He is not fit to drive at the moment".

However, Judge Kelly responded: "That is not true. Medical people say that, and you say that, but that will not stop Mr Callaghan."

But the judge then gave him permission to travel in the back of a private vehicle driven by his mother to appointments.

Last month Dungannon Magistrates Court heard how Callaghan was allegedly battered with a wooden plank and left with "potentially life-changing injuries".

He was found bleeding heavily and drifting in-and-out of consciousness close to the pub he'd been drinking in.

The court heard was told 35-year-old Jason McNabb assaulted Callaghan outside the country pub in the townland of Tattyreagh on April 11.

McNabb, of Aghnamoe Road, Dromore, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm and having a wooden plank with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

In 2011 Callaghan was jailed for assaulting his then girlfriend and animal cruelty for swinging her pet poodle over his head and over a garden fence during the same incident.

Two weeks ago Callaghan failed to appear in court and was warned by Judge Kelly he must attend.

The court was told he had been unable to attend on that date due to his injuries from an assault.

But we can reveal Callaghan was well enough to phone the Sunday World to complain about being described as a "poodle-swinging thug".

He ranted down the phone: "Stop writing sh*t about me. I'm amazed nobody has done you in."

When asked which part of our article he took offence at, Callaghan said: "That sh*t about me swinging a poodle around my head."

So just for clarity for you, Darren - here's the exact wording of that shocking animal cruelty offence as it was read out in court and to which you pleaded guilty to.

The bizarre charge was read out at Omagh Magistrates Court in 2011 and said Callaghan "swung dog, namely a poodle, around his head a number of times and threw it over a fence".

Callaghan had originally denied being cruel to the animal and assaulting his former partner, but shortly after she began giving evidence he admitted both offences.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com


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