Sackville Street hoax bomb accused refused bail by Judge

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Bail has been refused in the case of a Draperstown man who made a hoax call to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in Londonderry stating that he had placed a viable explosive device somewhere in the city.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday (December 29) that Daryl Harvey (29), of Brackaghlislea Road, made the call to police at Strand Road in the early hours of Monday (December 28) morning from a phone box at the corner of Sackville Street.

He told the PSNI that he had planted a viable device in the city.

Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) cameras in the Sackville Street area of Londonderry city centre picked up images of the defendant in the phone box at the time of call, Londonderry Magistrates’ Court was told.

The police service were then tasked to the Sackville Street area where they arrested Harvey.

At the time of his arrest, Harvey was extremely intoxicated - breaking a previous bail condition which banned him from consuming any intoxicating liquor.

Harvey initially gave the police service false details but subsequent checks were able to identify the defendant.

The Court heard that during the course of his arrest the defendant became disruptive.

As he was being put into the police transport, he kicked out and spat at a police officer and had to be restrained.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court was told that police were objecting to bail being granted as this latest offence occurred just seven days after Harvey was released on bail - in relation to identical charges including making a hoax bomb warning.

The Court was further told that only for the fact the city centre CCTV cameras were able to pick up images of the defendant, a major incident would have had to be declared in Londonderry in order to deal with the perceived security risk.

A defence solicitor for Harvey said that his client had experienced a very traumatic childhood at the hands of his father.

The solicitor told Londonderry Magistrates’ Court that as a result of this traumatic childhood the defendant was very emotionally unstable and had a reliance on alcohol as a coping mechanism.

He said that his client had recently commenced intensive counselling and therapy with a psychotherapist in Magherafelt.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court took account of these circumstances but nonetheless Harvey was refused bail.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that while he agreed that prison may not be the best place for someone with such complex mental health difficulties, he could not see a viable alternative. Bail was refused.