objections | 

Tyrone man with 86 convictions who ‘threw knife at his mum and assaulted cops’ granted bail

Francis Devine (31) made remarks including, ‘I strike first and ask questions later. That man was a w***er. I gave him a quare dig’

Staff ReporterBelfast Telegraph

A Co Tyrone man who allegedly threw a seven-inch knife at his mother has been released on bail despite police objections.

Francis Devine (31) appeared before Dungannon Magistrates Court charged with threatening violence, assaulting two police officers, causing actual bodily harm to an officer, stealing a phone and possessing an offensive weapon.

An officer confirmed the charges, which are alleged to have occurred on December 31, could be connected to Devine.

He said police investigated a report that Devine, previously of Castle Square, Fintona, but now of no fixed abode, had supposedly stolen his mother's phone.

Officers attended the home of Devine’s mother in Coalisland, confirming that he was there and said he had thrown a seven-inch knife at her. This was seized and the phone was also recovered.

It also emerged that Devine was in breach of a restraining order taken out by his mother last October. While she spoke with police, he jumped from an upstairs window and was found in a neighbour’s garden.

He was heavily intoxicated and refused to comply with instructions, instead lunging at an officer, who deployed CS spray, the court heard.

Despite this, he struggled violently with police, injuring one officer’s shoulder and smashing his glasses. As attempts were made to apply handcuffs, Devine headbutted a different officer and attempted the same with another.

He was eventually restrained, and once in custody, made remarks including, “I strike first and ask questions later. That man was a w***er. I gave him a quare dig”.

Objecting to bail, the officer highlighted a risk of reoffending, noting that Devine has 86 previous convictions.

Police said: “He was only released from prison the day before his arrest. While there is no statement of complaint from the mother and it’s unlikely she will provide one, we don’t feel he will comply with any bail conditions the court may impose.

"He has 21 previous breaches of bail, six of which relate to last year alone. Offending increases when he abuses alcohol. Time-and-time again he is given opportunities by the courts, but these are ignored.”

A defence barrister said Devine had gone to his mother’s address on release from prison as he is homeless and had nowhere else to go.

They said: “Things became tense and there was an argument with his mother which obviously escalated beyond intention or control. This has occurred before. The mother allows the defendant to stay, they have an argument and she calls police. There are alcohol issues and this intensifies an already difficult relationship with his mother.”

Requesting bail to be granted, the defence said Devine is seeking assistance for his alcohol addiction and to obtain his own address “in order to help break this cycle of offending”.

"He recognises his consumption of alcohol is linked to his offending behaviour. He is stuck in a rut. It’s not like he’s seeking out his mother to cause trouble. He simply has nowhere else to go,” the barrister said.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan remarked: “This is a cycle. His mother takes him back, no doubt through loyalty to her son, but it’s misplaced loyalty.”

He agreed to release Devine once a suitable address approved by police has been found. Further conditions including a ban on contact with the mother and refraining from being intoxicated in public were also imposed.

The case will be heard again on January 18.

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