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Man accused of blowing up ATM in Co Armagh is denied bail

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 09/07/2016

A man accused of trying to blow up an ATM at a Costcutter store in Co Armagh was denied bail yesterday
A man accused of trying to blow up an ATM at a Costcutter store in Co Armagh was denied bail yesterday

A man accused of trying to blow up an ATM at a Costcutter store in Co Armagh was denied bail yesterday.

Gratian-Ioan Pinter (39), originally from Romania but whose address was given as Brega Hamlet Lane in the Balbriggan area of Dublin, is one of two men accused of causing an explosion at an ATM in Hamiltonsbawn.

The cash machine was targeted on June 5, 2014. It is understood that gas was pumped into it before it was ignited.

The PSNI said that while no money was taken, the ATM was destroyed and the building in which it was housed was also damaged.

Pinter is facing two charges arising from the incident - causing an explosion likely to endanger life, and attempted burglary with intent to steal.

Newry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard that the defendant, who denies both charges, has been on remand for more than two years since his arrest.

Making an application for bail, defence barrister Gavan Duffy QC revealed that his client's co-accused - who is also a foreign national - has already been released on bail and is living in the Republic.

Mr Duffy told Judge Gordon Kerr QC that the date of Pinter's trial "has slipped back" to the end of October, which is "quite a distance" away.

The barrister said outstanding charges that the defendant faced "no longer exist".

He also revealed that should Pinter be released on bail, a bed would be available for him at a Simon Community hostel.

Mr Duffy concluded his application for bail by telling Judge Kerr: "He has now served two years in custody, which is the equivalent of a four-year sentence."

But when the judge was informed that Pinter had no ties in Northern Ireland, and after branding the charges against him as "serious", he said: "Given the nature of these charges and the lack of connection to this jurisdiction, I do not think bail is appropriate.

"It is my view this man should remain in custody. Bail is therefore refused."

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