Big wheel drama: charge dropped
Prosecutors have withdrawn charges that a man falsely imprisoned five people by climbing 200ft to the top of Belfast's big wheel during the summer.
Patrick Joyce, a member of the Travelling community, has instead been accused of a new offence of aggravated trespass.
The 38-year-old also stands charged with disorderly behaviour in connection with his decision to scale the tourist attraction in June.
A specialist team of firefighters was called to go up onto the landmark in the grounds of City Hall after Joyce was allegedly spotted high up on the wheel.
Five people were trapped in their pods for hours while the city centre drama unfolded.
However, a prosecuting lawyer confirmed at Belfast Magistrates Court today that the false imprisonment allegations would not be proceeded with.
During a brief hearing Joyce spoke only to confirm he understood the new charge against him.
Defence solicitor Matt Higgins described his client as having a “significant mental history”.
Mr Higgins also successfully sought permission for Joyce to stay with relatives at Old Park Road in Belfast.
He told the court: “Bail was granted to live in a caravan with his wife. There's been a domestic disagreement and the application is to vary his bail to live with his mother.”
The case was adjourned for Joyce to appear again before the court next month.