Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Belfast's big wheel climber denied bail to stop him going back up

A man who climbed on top of Belfast’s Big Wheel was remanded in custody charged with disorderly behaviour and unlawful imprisonment of five people who were stuck on the revolving tourist attraction at the time.

The stunt paralysed Belfast city centre for two and a half hours on Monday evening as emergency services climbed up to rescue Patrick Joyce (38) of no fixed abode.

A solicitor for Mr Joyce, who applied for bail for his client at Belfast Magistrates Court, said the stunt was part of a protest at living conditions in the Travelling community.

A police constable told the court that Mr Joyce, a father-of-five, had previously mounted other high structures in the city, including a crane in the Holy Lands area of south Belfast on May 31.

Mr Joyce had also been arrested under the Mental Health Act in May.

The constable said: “If released on bail he is likely to get in the same condition and put other people at risk who have to rescue him.”

While he could stay in caravans parked outside the City Hall, their proximity to the Big Wheel meant it would be “totally inappropriate” for Mr Joyce to be stay there if released on bail, the court heard.

Bail was refused as he did not have a fixed address and was likely to reoffend.

His wife Margaret would be his surety along with a member of the public who had come forward.

Mr Joyce’s defence solicitor told magistrate Fiona Bagnall that his client’s protest was at an end and that there was “no chance” of further climbs. He was making progress with getting a house through the Housing Executive.

Mr Joyce was remanded in custody to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on June 29.

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