Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Names of women facing drug charges withheld

Two alleged drug dealers have been granted anonymity at a court in Londonderry because of a possible threat to their lives.

The defendants, two women aged 27 and 19, were arrested after drugs were found during a search of a house in the Waterside area on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old defendant is charged with possessing and possessing with intent to supply cannabis, possessing ecstasy and with being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

The second defendant is charged with possessing and possessing with intent to supply cannabis.

A District Judge imposed anonymity orders on reporters covering the defendants’ appearance at the city’s Magistrates Court yesterday.

Before the defendants were brought into the courtroom, District Judge Brian Archer granted an application by defence solicitor Seamus Quigley not to have the defendants named nor to have their addresses read out in court.

During the hearing the defendants were identified by their case number.

Mr Quigley said his application was being made on the basis that “there could be threats made to the lives of both women by third parties”.

Mr Archer said he was granting the anonymity applications on the basis of discretion and not policy.

A police officer told the court that the drugs were found in the house together with weighing scales, plastic bags and mobile phones in a bedroom, kitchen and hallway. He said the estimated street value of the drugs was £13,000.

He described the 27-year-old as “a significant figure in the supplying of drugs in the Foyle area”. The officer said she had admitted possession of the cannabis but denied all knowledge of the ecstasy. In relation to the younger defendant, the officer said she had denied all knowledge of the drugs found by police in her rented accommodation.

The officer said he opposed bail being granted because he believed both defendants “would reoffend in order to recoup their losses” and because more people had yet to be interviewed in relation to the drugs.

Applying for bail, Mr Quigley said both defendants had clear criminal records and both had an acceptable bail address.

The District Judge said people with no criminal records were being used by criminal gangs because of the fact that they had never before come to police attention.

He released both women on their own bail of £500 with two sureties each of £750 and ordered them to reside with their parents under court curfew.

Both were ordered not to make contact with one another and will be electronically tagged until their next court appearance on October 19.

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