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Man remanded over alleged assault on pregnant sister

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A Derry man has been charged with assaulting his pregnant sister the day after he was released from prison for a similar offence.

Ryan Tracey, 29, of St Brecan’s Park has been charged with common assault, disorderly behaviour and assaulting and resisting police on August 22.

Police were called to a disturbance at St Brecan’s Park at 8.20pm on August 22.

They spoke to the defendant’s sister who said she was standing at the front of the property when Tracey slapped her in the face.

The alleged injured party claimed that one of her teeth was chipped as a result.

She admitted kicking him in the groin in retaliation.

A police officer told the court that the alleged injured party is pregnant.

PSNI officers arrived at the property ten minutes after the incident when the defendant was arrested.

He was intoxicated and struggled with officers but was restrained.

A PSNI officer told the court that the 29-year-old called police ‘smelly orange b******s’ and shouted ‘up the RA’.

When placed in a police vehicle his behaviour didn’t change, the officer said, and he attempted to bite a PSNI officer.

During police interview Tracey said he was drinking in his mother’s house on Friday and Saturday.

“He drank a crazy amount of alcohol, by his own admission,” the officer said.

Tracey denied the assault allegation saying his sister arrived during the day and made the incident up.

The court heard that he has 43 convictions and had been released from prison on Friday for an assault on the same person.

Bail was opposed with the officer citing a risk of reoffending and breaching bail.

He also had ‘no faith’ that he will remain sober.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty said his client had just been released from Maghaberry prison where he spent four weeks in isolation.

That was linked to current public health advice where prisoners are kept in isolation for a period of 14 days due to the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Mr Doherty said the defendant suffers from depression and anxiety and those four weeks impacted on his mental health.

He made reference to the defendant’s alcohol consumption which included 24 cans of beer.

Defence counsel told the court that Tracey’s sister has made no statement of complaint, body worn camera footage ‘doesn’t identify any injury’ and she is currently on bail for assault.

Two male relatives witnessed the ‘verbal argument’, he said, and could be interviewed to confirm there was ‘nothing physical’.

He added that his client could be bailed to his uncle’s address.

“The defendant is petrified of spending another two weeks in isolation,” he concluded.

District Judge Barney McElholm said he treated the defendant leniently on Friday but Tracey ‘threw it back in my face’.

“He is a completely unsuitable candidate for bail.  He will continue to offend and breach bail and I have no confidence whatsoever in releasing him.”

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear before court again on September 17 by way of video link.

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