An improvised remark made by an unemployed Belfast plasterer following his arrest for dangerous driving has won the coveted "Best Reply After Caution" prize at the National Police Awards in Birmingham last night.
Paul Lavery, 24, led police on an hour long chase through the streets of Belfast last November before he was finally apprehended after crashing his vehicle upside down into an accountancy firm's offices, causing several thousand pounds worth of damage in the process.
After his arrest, police read him the standard caution advising him that he if did not mention something which he later relied on in Court it could harm his defence and if he did say anything it could be used in evidence, to which he replied, "Suck the back of my big, hairy ball-bag, you black bastard."
A panel of police, solicitors and members of the entertainment industry deemed this to be the best reply after caution of the last year. "It really was superb," said Joseph Campbell, solicitor and chairman of the panel. "I've been involved in the criminal justice system for over 30 years now and I have to say that this reply was up there with the best of them. Even the Judge remarked on it at the trial. The fact that it was improvised on the spot makes it even more impressive."
Although Mr. Lavery was unable to attend the ceremony personally, his legal representative read out a pre-prepared statement on his behalf. "I am delighted and honoured to accept this award", he said. "Little did I think at the time that my spur of the moment remark would attract such attention. I would like to thank my family, the judging panel, the arresting officer who nominated me and, of course, the prison staff who are currently looking after me until my scheduled release date in June 2014."
Mr. Lavery is reported to be keen to build on this success and is currently putting the finishing touches to a remark which he plans to make following his next arrest in which he intends to tell police that he will do the local female Magistrate up the wrong 'un.