A man pinched a jar of CBD gummy bears worth £50 from Boots in Belfast city centre. This was to relieve the pain resulting from a severe punishment beating administered by loyalists. The offence occurred on October 5 2021, weeks after 26-year-old Kelvin Kane left his seaside hometown of Ballycastle, Antrim, and moved to Belfast, where he lives on Victoria Street.

Boots in Belfast. Photo: Ardfern

Boots in Belfast. Photo: Ardfern

Belfast Magistrates’ Court was told that Kane entered the shop on Donegall Place and stuck a jar of Gumikuma CBD gummy bears up his coat before departing. He ended up under arrest a short while after. Damien Trainor, his solicitor, declared that his client had received a punishment beating that was “very, very serious” and resulted in “virtually every bone in each hand” being broken. Appearing remotely, Kane held up his hands, which were heavily bandaged, to show the extent of his injuries. Kane stole the gummy bears to assuage the resultant pain. His barrister commented that he is “in a particularly bad way” due to the beating and undergoing physiotherapy.

At the preliminary hearing, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes enquired whether Kane realised that CBD, admittedly a cannabis ingredient, isn’t hallucinogenic; it doesn’t make you stoned at all. Holmes refused bail on account of the prospect of re-offending; theft had already earned Kane multiple suspended sentences. He had received a social media message that read: “Keep your hands to yourself up there or you won’t have them.” Evidently, he ignored this. Holmes expressed “every sympathy” for Kane’s injuries but added that he was “going to the right place”: “He’s going to Maghaberry, where they have a hospital unit.”

Kane’s sentence also covered his arrest on September 20 for throwing rubbish from bins and spreading cooking oil taken from a restaurant near Botanic Avenue, where he did the deeds. His barrister remarked that this was “a cry for help as his mental health was at rock bottom.” The four-month sentence also covered this. He had pleaded guilty.

The judge noted that Kane has been described as bright and likeable, so “It’s a shame he’s in this position.”

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