‘Jesus is my legal guide’ man tells Ballymena courtroom

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A man told a court on Thursday he is being legally represented by “Jesus Christ”.

Joey McAuley (48), whose address was given as no fixed abode, Ballymena, appeared via video link from Maghaberry Jail where he was remanded to the previous week.

He is charged with disorderly behaviour on November 28 in Ballymena - the same day as an incident which graffiti saying ‘Bless This Place Lord’ was painted on a former church which is undergoing demolition.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court last week eye-witnesses said McAuley “preached” on the steps outside the court for ten minutes.

And also last week when he appeared in the court he clapped his hands loudly and shouted “Hallelujah” and other phrases about religion.

At that court he was remanded into custody because a bail address he had previously given to police did not exist.

At the same court today (Thursday) he appeared via video link and when asked by District Judge Peter King if he had obtained legal representation McAuley replied: “Aye, Jesus Christ”.

Judge King told him: “Despite the higher power you may have, you need somebody to represent you. There is an issue with an address.”

McAuley said: “Tell the truth”.

The judge said the defendant was “in no fit state” at the previous court and the bail address had come back unknown.

McAuley alleged: “You locked me up for praising the Lord” but the judge replied: “I think you will find you were remanded in custody for a breach of bail”.

McAuley continued: “You ask people to swear on the Bible but the Bible says not to swear on any oath.”

The accused was told he needed to get legally represented or else he would have to stay in custody until the case is finalised.

As the judge adjourned the case to later this month McAuley told him: “Praise the Lord, you will

stand before a righteous judge one day”.

As McAuley, who was wearing tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, got up to leave the video booth, the sound was switched off.

Last week there were extraordinary scenes inside and outside Ballymena Magistrates Court when McAuley “preached” in the court grounds for ten minutes and then shouted several remarks about God when he entered the courtroom.

When his case was called last week he created havoc when he entered the courtroom by shouting loudly whilst clapping his hands, punctuated by raising his fist in the air and at one stage he took off his coat.

McAuley continued to shout in the packed courtroom and yelled: “No justice in here brothers and sisters”.

His case was unable to go ahead as he was taken to the cells after continuing to shout and ignore Judge King’s pleas to calm down.

Other remarks shouted by McAuley included: “Thank you Lord”; “Glory Lord”; and whilst in the dock he proclaimed: “Hallelujah” before he added: “You will be judged” and “Repent”.

He continued to shout and sing loudly from the cells, which are below the courtroom, for around an hour and the noise from the defendant was constant.

The noise could be heard in the courtroom but it was not loud enough to disrupt proceedings.

Also at last week’s court when the case was mentioned again the judge said McAuley should remain in the cells.

Judge King told prison staff: “Don’t bring him up, clearly he is in no fit state”.

A prosecutor told the court last week McAuley had been granted bail on the disorderly behaviour charge to reside at an address in Lurgan which she added “doesn’t exist”.

McAuley was not legally represented and no details were given to the first court surrounding his original disorderly behaviour charge.

Judge King said last week he was not going to deal with McAuley for the “contempt” of court matters but said he was revoking bail because of the address issue.