Derry Court House
A Derry man has been accused of attempting to assault a prison officer just before he was due to appear in court for a bail application.
Joseph Harkin, 57, of High Park in the city, is charged with three counts of threatening to kill individuals including a police officer, disorderly behaviour, criminal damage and common assault on July 15 and 16, 2020.
The defendant was due to appear in court by way of video link from HM Prison Maghaberry.
But a prison officer told the court that Harkin could not be produced because he ‘attempted to assault staff’.
Applying for bail, defence barrister Stephen Mooney asked the judge to exclude that ‘scurrilous allegation’ against his client.
He said that the criminal damage charge consists of Harkin spitting on a police car which is not the ‘most egregious offence of criminal damage’.
Mr Mooney accepted that the 57-year-old has an ‘incredibly bad’ criminal record.
Having been in custody since July, defence counsel said his client has already served the equivalent of an eight months’ prison sentence and the maximum he could get is 12 months.
“He’s at real risk of serving more time than he would even get in this.
“Not withstanding what the officer said it is a case where I believe he should be afforded a chance.
“If he puts one foot out of line he could be remanded back into custody until the case concludes,” Mr Mooney added.
District Judge Barney McElholm said it is ‘almost inevitable’ Harkin will reoffend.
The court heard that the defendant needs to be put on his election and plea which could prove ‘difficult’ because of his ‘erratic’ behaviour.
Judge McElholm said Harkin is not helping himself and he wants to get his attitude before making a decision.
Police were also asked to decide on the suitability of a proposed bail address.
Harkin will appear before the court again by way of video link on November 16.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from Derrynow.com
Buy the e-paper of the Derry News and the County Derry Post here for instant access to Derry's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Derry with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.