Bail refused to man 'under paramilitary threat from relative'
A man in custody after missing a court appearance is under a paramilitary threat issued by a relative, a court has heard.
Ian Price made an application for bail at Belfast's High Court yesterday.
During the hearing it emerged that Price, from Talbot Street in Newtownards, Co Down, had been issued with a threat by a relative "associated with a criminal organisation", and the threat was issued because Price "carried the coffin of his friend at a funeral in Carrickfergus earlier this month".
The 31-year-old, who has 151 previous convictions, was arrested after a warrant was issued following a failed court appearance.
Yesterday's hearing was told that Price was arrested following a traffic incident in Co Antrim last December.
He failed to appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on April 6 on charges including dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
He was arrested on April 14 in Templepatrick after a warrant was issued.
A Crown prosecutor said bail was being opposed over fears Price would reoffend.
Pointing out 71 offences on Price's criminal record were for driving matters - and that he was a banned driver - the prosecutor also voiced concerns that Price "poses a risk to members of the public when he drives dangerously, and whilst disqualified".
The prosecutor also spoke of Price's proposed bail address - that of his stepfather in Newtownards - and said Price had already told police that due to the threat he was under, he will not stay at this address for more than one night.
Explaining why Price failed to appear for his hearing at Ballymena Magistrates Court, a defence barrister said it was Price's understanding that he had been excused from attending that day, but that he now realised this was not the case.
Referring to the threat, the barrister sought bail.
He said: "This applicant is saying that he could take precautions with his own safety if he is released."
The barrister said his relative was "associated with a criminal organisation", adding: "A threat, paramilitary or otherwise, is not a justification for refusing bail."
Saying Price "only has himself to blame", Mr Justice Horner refused the bail application.