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Bail breach shoplifting accused sets new legal record

By Paul Higgins

Published 25/05/2015

Mark Taylor leaves Laganside Courts less than two hours after he was arrested for breaching his bail conditions
Mark Taylor leaves Laganside Courts less than two hours after he was arrested for breaching his bail conditions

A new processing record for the legal system was set over the weekend when an alleged shoplifter was arrested for breaching his bail, brought before a court and again released on bail, all within two hours.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard on Saturday that vigilant police arrested 29-year-old Mark Philip Taylor as he was about to walk into the Victoria Square shopping complex at 9.30am.

With paperwork filed by 10.15 Taylor, from Powerscourt Place in south Belfast, was brought into the dock of the court at 10.45am.

He is already on bail facing three counts of theft, all alleged to have occurred on April 7 this year when he is accused of stealing DVDs and clothing from three city centre shops amounting to a total of £224.

One of his bail conditions was to stay out of the city centre. A police constable told the court that when he was initially arrested Taylor claimed to officers that he was on his way to Musgrave Street PSNI station nearby to report an incident. The officer said Taylor would have had to have passed another much nearer police station to do that.

Despite protestations from the dock, District Judge Amanda Henderson said she "did not believe for one second" that Taylor was on his way to see the police.

However, the judge said that she would give him another chance to keep to his bail conditions. Taylor left Laganside courthouse just after 11am, the fastest turnaround from arrest to court proceedings on record, according to legal sources, less than two hours after he was spotted by the eagle-eyed officers on the beat.

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