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Bring a sketch pad and pencil... judge orders boy to become court artist for three days as part of bail

By George Jackson

Published 24/07/2015

District Judge Barney McElholm
District Judge Barney McElholm

A pot-smoking boy with an interest in drawing has been ordered by a judge to become an unofficial court artist for three days as part of his bail conditions.

The 16-year-old, who lives in a children's home, appeared in court charged with the breaching of previously imposed bail conditions.

The teenager, who is charged with committing public order offences, was arrested on Wednesday. The court heard he had failed a test carried out by police - known as a preliminary impairment test - to determine whether he was under the influence of drugs.

He admitted consuming cannabis before he was arrested.

Applying for bail at the Magistrates Court in Derry, his solicitor Ciaran McGuinness told District Judge Barney McElholm that the boy was bored, but also had an interest in art. Mr McElholm said that he was prepared to give the youth one more chance and he granted him bail.

He told the teenager - who cannot be named for legal reasons - to "stop using cannabis".

The judge then said that because of the youth's interest in art he would impose an unusual bail condition on him.

"You must attend this court on Friday and on next Monday and Tuesday for two hours," Mr McElholm said.

"You must bring with you a sketch pad and a pencil and you can draw me and the solicitors for two hours each day, only me and the solicitors, and I will review the matter on Wednesday of next week."

Mr McElholm added: "If you look stoned you will be arrested and remanded in immediate custody."

The youth was also ordered as part of his bail conditions to abide by the rules of the children's home.

He is not to possess any bladed articles except during meal times, not to consume alcohol nor drugs, and to observe a 7pm to 7am curfew.

Mr McElholm also ruled that the teenager must be electronically tagged during the period of his bail.

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