Northern Ireland

Man gets probation for being drunk in charge of child

A drunken man stopped by police while wandering the streets with his barefooted four-year-old son has been given six months probation.

The 28-year-old, who cannot be identified, was arrested in west Belfast after a taxi driver raised the alarm last August.

The prosecution said he was abusive to officers.

The man admitted disorderly behaviour and being drunk in charge of a child in public.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard his son was distressed and outside without shoes when police spotted the pair in the Suffolk Road area.

Arrangements were made for the boy to be taken to a relative.

At that stage his father became abusive and aggressive as police arrested him.

A defence barrister Declan told the court his client had only been drinking due to being the victim of a "mistaken identity" in a previous serious but undisclosed incident.

His actions have resulted in him suffering the "opprobrium" of his family, the lawyer said.

He added: "He is genuinely remorseful and disgusted with his own behaviour, and concerned about the impact on his son."

The judge Harry McKibbin also banned reporting of the defendant's name to ensure the victim cannot be identified.