Two men and a woman have been given prison sentences totalling nine years for their parts in an incident in which a man was found naked and beaten in a wheelie bin in a park in Ballymena.
Teri Christopher Bernard Lau (28), of Dunclug Park, and Roddy Patterson (28), of Glendun Drive, were each given three-and-a-half year sentences - half of which will be served in custody and half on licence - for the false imprisonment of Adam Robinson in September 13.
They were each given concurrent 12 month sentences for assaulting Mr Robinson, thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm.
Paula Wilson (22) was given a two-year sentence - half in custody and half on licence - for aiding and abetting the false imprisonment of Mr Robinson, who was present in court along with his parents and brother for the hearing.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC said the incident had been an attempt by Lau and Patterson to “punish, degrade and humiliate” Mr Robinson, following a drink and drug-fuelled party over the course of a number of days.
Outlining the facts during sentencing, the judge said it was a case which had “provoked considerable publicity”.
He recalled how Mr Robinson had been found “naked, extremely bruised and covered in sweat” by a person walking their dog in the town’s Sentry Hill Park.
The judge said he had read probation and medical reports in which the injured party had said he believed he was going to die and said he had read statements from Mr Robinson and his family which detailed the “vivid” impact the incident had had on him.
Noting that Mr Robinson had been in the bin, which had been sealed with tape and then “wedged” against a tree in the park, for around two hours, the judge said: “It amounted to a form of sensory deprivation. He would have had no idea where he had been abandoned and how long he was to be there.”
The judge said that reports from medical practitioners and social workers suggested that none of the defendants could be considered as “dangerous” or a high risk to the public.
Sentencing Patterson, the judge said that during the party, which had taken place at Lau’s house, there had been elements of “arguments, destruction and discord - but the parties kept on going.”
With regard to Wilson, the judge noted that she is currently serving a prison sentence for another offence but at the time of this offence, she had no previous criminal convictions.
He said that Wilson had denied being at the scene which conflicted by the version given by the other defendants.
The judge also noted that in a probation report compiled on her, Wilson had accepted that the incident was “disgraceful behaviour”.
Sentencing Lau, Judge Kerr said: “It was his idea to embark on this, in terms of the tape and sealing the bin.
“It was clear in buying the tape what his intentions were. Then he and Patterson taped the bin closed,” the judge added.
It is expected that the defendants will not serve the full duration of their sentences, due to time already served in custody since their arrest.