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Man accused of attempted bus hijacking is denied bail

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 16/03/2016

An alleged attempted hijacker accused of trying to take three vehicles including a bus has been refused bail over concerns he may re-offend
An alleged attempted hijacker accused of trying to take three vehicles including a bus has been refused bail over concerns he may re-offend

An alleged attempted hijacker accused of trying to take three vehicles including a bus has been refused bail over concerns he may re-offend.

As he was being led from the dock of Belfast Crown Court following his unsuccessful application, Kenneth Neil Colwell, from Forthriver Link in the north of the city, shouted: "You let dissident Republicans out, but you won't let me out. Scumbags."

Prior to the outburst, a Crown prosecutor said bail for Colwell was being opposed because of concerns that he would re-offend.

The father-of-one (24) has spent almost a year on remand after being arrested and charged with three counts of attempting to hijack vehicles on March 23 last year. He is also charged with two counts of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the same date.

Belfast Crown Court heard Colwell had denied all five charges levelled against him and would be facing trial on a date yet to be fixed.

Prosecutor Sam Magee told the court the defendant had been charged with trying to take by force three vehicles in the Shankill area of the city.

Colwell is accused of standing in the middle of the road and trying to steal a car, of pointing an imitation firearm at a bus driver, and also of jumping on the bonnet of a third car he tried to steal.

On the latter occasion, the male motorist drove off from the scene, causing injuries to Colwell, which the Crown says led to his arrest.

A defence barrister pointed out that Colwell had been on remand for almost a year, and that while in HMP Maghaberry he had been made an orderly and had completed a drugs counselling course.

He added the imitation firearm was in fact a laser pen shaped like a gun which "clearly wasn't a firearm".

Seeking bail, the defence barrister proposed a bail address close to Musgrave Street Police Station and said Colwell's mother was prepared to provide a £1,000 cash surety.

After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Judge Kerr refused bail on the grounds there was a "high risk" of reoffending, and also because Colwell's trial will be taking place soon.

As Colwell was being led back into custody, he launched into his outburst about dissident republicans.

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