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‘Frequent offender’ refused bail after allegedly trying to sell stolen goods

'This is a man with 19 drug offences and 49 road traffic offences'

Craigavon Magistrates Court

A man described as a “frequent offender” has had his bail application refused.

Patrick Joseph Ward, of Cloneen, Dungannon, faces a number of charges after he took a car without permission, stole goods and attempted to sell them on.

The application was heard at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.

The 33-year-old, who is currently on remand at Maghaberry Prison, is charged with possessing a flick knife in a public place, namely Portadown Station on Woodhouse Street.

He is further charged with possession of a Class C drug, handling stolen goods, aggravated taking and causing damage to a vehicle, theft, fraud, and driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on March 18 and 29 this year.

The court heard the defendant was at a party in Dungannon when he allegedly took an acquaintance’s vehicle, drove it while disqualified and with no insurance and proceeded to enter a number of premises and steal items from them.

He is then alleged to have entered a third premises where he tried to sell the items before fleeing the area in the vehicle.

It was approximately 10 days before he was located by police.

In interview, it transpired his wife and co-accused was with him when these offences were happening.

Defence barrister Michael Ward said it was five months on from his client’s first court appearance and that it was a straightforward case.

“It’s a case that in all likelihood will be dealt with by way of  a plea to at least some of the charges he faces and yet we find ourselves five months on with a decision still not having been made in the case,” he said.

He said it was probably a case which finds itself on the precipice between the Crown Court and the Magistrates Court and pointed out the defendant had five months already served.

Deputy District Judge McCourt said that on reading the charges the case was potentially going to the Crown Court.

“This is a man with 19 drug offences and 49 road traffic offences and traffic regulations breaches as well,” he said.

“Looking at his record, he’s a frequent offender and I fear that if he was released on bail he would be reoffending, and certainly from that point of view he’s a risk to society.”

He said a decision on whether the case goes to the Magistrate’s Court or the Crown Court should be made in four weeks.

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