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Man facing trial over family arson attack

By Staff Reporter

Published 15/09/2016

'Harkness, remanded in custody since his first appearance at Dungannon Magistrates' Court, is charged with endangering the lives of his partner, her mother and the toddler on February 9 by damaging a house by fire'
'Harkness, remanded in custody since his first appearance at Dungannon Magistrates' Court, is charged with endangering the lives of his partner, her mother and the toddler on February 9 by damaging a house by fire'

A man has been sent for trial after an arson attack on a house where his partner and toddler son were staying.

During a hearing, a barrister for Stuart Harkness (26) from Moygashel made a fourth attempt for bail, but the application was thrown out by the judge.

Harkness, remanded in custody since his first appearance at Dungannon Magistrates' Court, is charged with endangering the lives of his partner, her mother and the toddler on February 9 by damaging a house by fire.

He is further accused of making and possessing a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances.

Dressed in a navy blue suit, Harkness appeared for a preliminary hearing at the same court. Asked if he had any objection to the case proceeding he replied: "None at all."

After being asked if he had anything to say in reply to the charges or if he wished to call witnesses, the defendant, from Moygashel Park, replied: "No, not at present."

District Judge John Meehan ordered the case to be transferred to Dungannon Crown Court for arraignment on October 13.

A defence barrister then advised the court he was making a fourth application for bail, based on a change of circumstances.

Judge Meehan said: "Bail is refused. In the theatre of bail applications it is not the number but the subject of the charges. There are very real issues here."

Harkness was remanded in custody, but is to again try for High Court bail next week.

Belfast Telegraph

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