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Man accused of possession of petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances to face Crown Court

Refusing a bail application the district judge said: 'With the imposition of a tag, he is already at the top in terms of conditions and there really is nowhere else for the court to go'

Armagh Courthouse

A man who is accused of aggravated vehicle taking and possessing a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances will face Crown Court proceedings next month.

The 28-year-old appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.

Sean McGonnell, of Lenadoon Avenue in Belfast, is charged with possessing a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances and aggravated vehicle taking causing damage.

As the charges were read, it was heard that this was alleged to have been committed on November 20, of last year.

At a previous court hearing, a constable outlined that during a search of a vehicle McGonnell was alleged to have been driving a glass bottle containing flammable liquid with a sock stuck in the neck was located.

Appearing via videolink from Maghaberry, the defendant made no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.

Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a prima facie case to answer.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare made no contrary submissions.

District Judge Bernie Kelly was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer.

Mr O’Hare further informed the court that a bail application was being made on his client’s behalf.

Objecting to bail, a constable stated that McGonnell had shown a “disregard” for both post charge and High Court bail.

They said that the defendant, who had 84 previous convictions, had been detained by police on four occasions for breach of bail and four times on foot of bench warrants.

Outlining objections, the constable stated there was a fear McGonnell would interfere with witness and that the address provided had not been deemed suitable, due to a previous domestic incident.

Mr O’Hare commented that his client had been bailed to the same address on previous occasions and no such objection had been made.

He stated that McGonnell had remained drug free whilst in custody and had the possibility of employment upon his release.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “The difficulty I have is what he did the last time he got bail. Not only did he commit further offences but he also damaged a tag.

“With the imposition of a tag, he is already at the top in terms of conditions and there really is nowhere else for the court to go.”

Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in custody to appear before Newry Crown Court on November 18 for arraignment.

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