A landlord who harassed two former tenants has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay one of his victims compensation.
John Mallon, whose address was given as Kilnadrain, Monaghan, appeared at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to two charges of harassment.
The offences took place between January 17, 2012 and November 27, 2012.
Mallon had been the former landlord of 69 Queen Street, Lurgan, which housed Cash for Recycling, and 16 Barrack Street, Armagh, the premises of the Galley Fish and Chip Shop, but these were placed in the hands of the receiver.
Despite this, Mallon continued to behave as if he still owned the properties and admitted pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of tenant William Johnston, Barrack Street, and John McGuigan, Queen Street.
This included continuing to demand rent from both men, even though they were paying it to the receiver.
He also unlawfully entered the Cash for Recycling shop and took clothing and cash as well as causing £3,000 worth of damage.
The defence solicitor said the 50-year-old, father of two had spent a month on remand in custody over Christmas 2012/2013 in relation to the case.
He said his client had been given bad advice from a neighbouring jurisdiction which he described as “a woefully misguided interpretation of the law”. This had led his client to believe he still had rights over the properties.
District Judge Mervyn Bates said the case seemed to have arisen because of a mistaken belief that the defendant was still the landlord but said there was “persistent contact” with the victims’.
For the harassment of Mr McGuigan, he sentenced him to four months in custody, and for the harassment of Mr Johnston, two months in custody, both suspended for two years. He ordered that Mallon pay £2,000 in restitution to Mr McGuigan. He also issued a restraining order against Mallon in relation to the two men.