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Lurgan petrol bomb accused loses bid to remove electronic tag as it causes him anxiety at gym

The deputy district judge said: 'I have to say in my 37 years at the bar I don't think I've ever heard a less meritorious application so I am refusing it'

A Portadown man charged with riotous behaviour and throwing petrol bombs has been refused a bail variation to remove an electronic tag as it was causing him anxiety whilst at the gym.

Ruling on the 30-year-old’s application, the deputy district judge commented: “I have to say in my 37 years at the bar I don’t think I’ve ever heard a less meritorious application so I am refusing it.”

Niall Reynolds, of Woodside Green, had a bail variation application made on his behalf at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The defendant is charged with riotous behaviour, making a petrol bomb, throwing a petrol bomb, attempted criminal damage and two counts of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

Giving evidence at a previous court hearing, Constable Mack described how police were “lured” towards an incident involving a hijacking and a bomb hoax.

The officers were then attacked by a group of males who had used a ladder to climb onto the roof of a pensioner’s bungalow from where they launched petrol bombs.

The court heard that one of the incendiary devices, allegedly lobbed over a hedge by Reynolds, struck a signpost and, had it not done so,  would have landed on the head of an officer.

The car, said the officer, was “engulfed in flames….any innocent bystander would have been severely injured or killed”.

Constable Mack further alleged that Reynolds could be spotted on CCTV smiling, chatting and encouraging two others throwing petrol bombs in the area, and can be seen allegedly patting them on the back “as to say ‘well-done’”.

Speaking on Friday, defence counsel provided a letter from the defendant’s GP and explained the application was for the removal of the condition that his client was electronically tagged.

He stated: “There’s a particular reason for that which is referred to in the letter….with the public health centres re-opening and also in regard to the summer coming up which would lead the tag to be visible.”

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes stated: “Basically he doesn’t like the attention the tag gets him when he goes to the gym. He needs to go to the gym for his mental health and the wearing of the tag is causing him to be looked at by other people.

“This is causing him more emotional anxiety, but not what generally also causes people really serious emotional anxiety, petrol bombs and riotous behaviour.”

He continued: “Moving on from that, as he has not been convicted of that yet, there is also disorderly behaviour on three separate occasions which also causes people anxiety.

“I have to say in my 37 years at the bar I don’t think I’ve ever heard a less meritorious application so I am refusing it.”

The case was then adjourned to July 23 for a preliminary enquiry date to be fixed.

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