09 Aug 2022

50-year-old man appears in court after being arrested for throwing a beer can at police vehicle at 5am during recent unrest in Bogside area of Derry

A 50-year-old man from the Galliagh area of Derry has appeared at a special court sitting in Omagh charged with committing disorderly behaviour in the Bogside area of Derry in the early hours of Friday morning. William McConnell, a painter from Glendale Gardens is charged with committing the offence in Fahan Street. The defendant, who has ten previous convictions, two of them for disorderly behaviour one in 1988 and the other in 1989, made no reply when the charge was put to him after his arrest. A police officer told District Judge John Meehan that the defendant was seen just before 5am on Friday by police officers who were on public order duties following previous disturbances in the area. The officer said the defendant was seen approaching debris on the road and attempting to erect a makeshift barricade. He was approached by police officers who advised him to stop and to leave the area, but the defendant refused to do so and became aggressive towards the police officers. The police witness said the defendant verbally abused the officers before he lifted a beer can and threw it in their direction, hitting a police vehicle. The constable said he opposed bail on the basis that he believed the defendant would re-offend if granted bail and that he would again become involved in public disorder incidents. The police witness said officers had been deployed into the Fahan Street area of the Bogside following several nights of rioting. He said the defendant lived almost five miles from the Bogside and he believed the defendant had taken a deliberate decision to go there during the disturbances. Defence solicitor Rory Muldoon said the defendant, who admitted the charge, was drunk at the time and when he was arrested the public order incidents were over. He said the defendant had spent the day drinking in a local bar in the Bogside and when left he tried without success to get a taxi home but taxi drivers, because of the disturbances, were not operating in the Bogside. Applying for bail Mr. Muldoon said the defendant was an alcoholic who had helped to set up a men's shed for other alcoholics. He said when the defendant woke up in a police cell after his arrest he was extremely apologetic to the police. The defendant was released on his own bail of £350 to attend court again on August 3. As part of his bail conditions he is banned from entering the Bogside and Brandywell areas of the city.

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