A SCHIZOPHRENIC jailed for smashing an antique candelabra before throwing candles at door staff at the five-star Merchant hotel in Belfast, claimed his actions were fuelled by unwittingly smoking cannabis.
William John Mulholland caused £1,100 worth of damage by throwing the furnishing as staff tried to escort him from The Merchant, a judge was told.
The 34-year-old was also convicted of a separate, allegedly racially-motivated, assault on a man working at a fast-food restaurant in the city centre.
He was sentenced to a total of five months in prison, but released on bail pending a planned appeal.
Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard Mulholland, of Shore Crescent in the city, had limited cash when he entered the hotel on September 25 last year.
He resisted attempts to get him to leave, picking up candles and allegedly throwing them in the direction of door security.
As efforts to escort him from the premises continued, Mulholland lifted and hurled the candelabra.
Defence counsel Mark Farrell said the accused, described as diagnosed schizophrenic, was both apologetic and remorseful for his behaviour.
The barrister explained that his client had been in court on unrelated matters on the day of the incident.
Mulholland had gone outside, asked someone for a cigarette and been handed what he thought was a normal roll-up, it was claimed.
But according to Mr Farrell he was unwittingly given a cannabis joint before heading to the hotel.
He has no memory of his subsequent actions, the court heard.
Mulholland was convicted of criminal damage and a common assault offences over the incident at The Merchant.
Meanwhile, he was also dealt with for assaulting a member of staff at McDonalds in the city centre and resisting police last July.
It was claimed that he told the black victim: “Go back to your own country.”
Mr Farrell contended that Mulholland was only meant for him to return to England.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered the defendant to serve a total of five months behind bars for the two incidents.
Granting bail for a planned appeal against sentence, she banned Mulholland from entering The Merchant Hotel.