Husband arrested over text messages to estranged wife

Enniskillen Court House

Enniskillen Court House

A HUSBAND who sent his estranged wife almost 30 text messages over two days was arrested in Kesh over the weekend, in breach of a non-molestation order that had been taken out against him, has been remanded in custody. 
Mark Johnstone (40) with an address at Clareview Caravan Park in Kesh, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday where he was refused bail after being arrested last Friday for harassment and breaching a non-molestation order. 
The court was told that on Thursday and Friday last week, October 27 and 28, Johnstone had sent around 28 texts to his estranged wife. She told police this made her fell harassed. 
Raising objections to Johnstone being released on bail, police told the court the defendant didn’t agree with the non-molestation order that had been taken out against him and had disregard for the court ruling. They feared he would commit further offences as a result. 
Defence solicitor Barry Lynam said Johnstone had been suffering from mental health issues over the weekend and pointed out the texts he’d sent to his wife were not of a threatening nature. 
In fact, he said many were simply contained one word or one letter. 
Mr Lynam said Johnstone had provided a bail address at his mother and brother’s home in Derry, explaining the defendant’s family were concerned for his mental health. 
District Judge John Meehan said he was “not hear to sympathise with mental health issues” if that meant letting Johnstone carry on offending. When he asked if the defendant accepted he had mental health issues, Mr Lynam told the judge it was “an issue he is going to have to address.” 
Stating he had “every sympathy” with Johnstone’s family, Judge Meehan said a court would not have previously granted a non-molestation order against the defendant without a valid reason, pointed to the fact Johnstone refused to accept the order, and said the weekend’s incident was “not fresh territory” for the 40-year-old. 
Judge Meehan said he had no confidence Johnstone wouldn’t carry on offending, and refused bail on the grounds he was likely to reoffend. 
Adjourning the case until November 21, the judge added if the defendant’s family could arrange mental health treatment for him to be released to before then, and if Johnstone was willing to accept treatment, the issue of bail could be revisited.

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