23 May 2022

Derry riot accused refused permission to live in his own home

Bail application to live in Creggan turned down

One of two men charged in connection with the rioting on the night journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead has been refused permission to go back to reside in his home.
Christopher Gillen, 38, of Balbane Pass in Creggan, is currently on bail charged with riotous assembly, possessing and throwing petrol bombs, arson and hijacking on 18 April last year, the night the 29-year-old was shot by a New IRA gunman while watching rioting.
His solicitor, Paddy MacDermott, told today's sitting of Derry Magisrate's Court Gillen was applying to vary his bail so he coukd return to his home in Balbane Pass in Creggan.
He said Gillen was currently residing with his parents in Cornshell Fields and wanted to return to Creggan but police were objecting.
A police officer told the court Gillen had been released on bail in November with conditions being he was not allowed to enter the Creggan area.
The officer told the court an application to reduce exclusion zone to facilitate Gillen's contact with his children had been granted last month.
Under questioning by Mr MacDermott, the officer agreed the High Court had permitted Gillen to go in to Creggan over the Christmas period.
She told the court Gillen had to travel in and out of the area and there had been no issues.
Mr MacDermott told the court the application should be granted as the defendant had been in Creggan at Christmas.
He said “the natural place for him to be is in his own home” as the exclusion zone was causing difficulty in the day-to-day care of his children.
The solicitor said there was no reason why Gillen could not be allowed back to Creggan and added there had been no public disorder in that area since October.
District Judge Barney McElholm said: "It is getting very close to something and if the media are to be believed, and there is no reason why not, there are plans for all sorts of triumphalist demonstrations."
He refused the application and Gillen will appear again on 6 February.

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