A taxi driver who was arrested by the police during public order incidents in the Lecky Road area of Derry on Monday, was released on bail when he appeared before the city's Magistrate's Court sitting in Omagh today.

Paul McIntyre, 50, from Ballymagowan Park in the Creggan area of Derry is charged with intentionally assisting or encouraging people to take part in a riot.

A police officer told Deputy District Judge Paul Conway that the charge was linked to a police operation, carried out on behalf of the Coroner's Office, following the sudden death of a woman in her home in Rossville Street in the Bogside on May 28, during which police officers were attacked.

The defendant was further charged with breaching a previously imposed court order for other matters, also on May 28, by entering within 500 metres of an ongoing police operation.

He denies both offences.

A police officer said that on the night of May 28 the defendant was seen opening the boot of his car and handing over an item or items to masked youths and gesturing to them to become involved in rioting. She said the defendant was arrested on Monday night during ongoing disturbances in the Lecky Road area.

The police witness said she believed if released on bail the defendant would re-offend as tensions in the community were currently running high. She said the violence had been ongoing since last Sunday night.

Applying for bail defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said the police have had numerous opportunities to arrest the defendant since last May. He said since then he had been stopped and searched four times.

Mr. MacDermott said the defendant denied it was him on the police video recording of a man seen handing items to the group of masked youths. He said the defendant knew the identity of the man but would not name him.

Mr. MacDermott said the defendant was already on the police radar and the issue in the case was one of identity.

The Deputy District Judge said he found it hard to believe that the police were seeking to have the defendant remanded in custody when they themselves had several opportunities to arrest him over the last six weeks, including during his several subsequent court appearances.

"Surely he should have been flagged up on the police system. With some reservation I am releasing him on bail because the risk of re-offending cannot be substantiated if the police do not actively bring him before the court", Mr. Conway said.

The defendant was released on his own bail of £750 to attend court again on July 25. As part of his bail conditions
he is banned from entering within 500 metres of an ongoing police operation and he must observe a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. He'll also be electronically monitored.

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