10 Aug 2022

Man accused of driving three times into caravan at Travellers' park refused bail

Derry courthouse
Derry Magistrate's Court has heard how a local man has had only one year free of convictions since he was 13-years-old. Stephen Smith (22), of Marianus Park, who faces a total of 22 charges relating to incidents on 8 August last, was and was applying for bail. A police officer opposed the application and told the court that on date in question Smith, with three others, entered a travellers' park and was alleged to have driven three times into a caravan containing a woman and child. The court heard Smith then tried to set fire to the caravan but failed and set fire to the car instead. He was then said to have stolen a van and driven away. The officer said there were "numerous reports" of dangerous driving throughout the day.' The court heard at one point Smith was alleged to have driven into a crowded garage forecourt and then crashed head on into a car with an elderly couple in it before being arrested a short distance away. The officer told the court Smith had 20 previous convictions and was actually on bail for another offence when these offences occurred. The court was told police had tried "to engage with Smith" but he had refused to leave his cell to meet them. The police officer said that Smith presented a risk to the public. Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley told the court his client had now shown a willingness to engage with police. Deputy District Judge Noel Dunlop said it might have been different if Smith had co-operated with police but as it was he was refusing bail. Smith will appear again on 14 February next.

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