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Accused charged with criminal damage after poppy wreaths burned

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Custody: Che Donnelly

Custody: Che Donnelly

Custody: Che Donnelly

A 27-year-old man charged with causing criminal damage to Ballymena's War Memorial on Friday night - when poppy wreaths were burned - has been remanded in custody.

Che Donnelly, with an address listed as Princes Street in Ballymena, appeared in the dock in handcuffs at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday.

The defendant’s legal firm emailed the court saying that given the coronavirus pandemic they would not be present.

A court clerk said the email from the law firm said they had “no instructions to apply for bail”.

The defendant has yet to enter either a guilty or not guilty plea.

District Judge Peter King remanded the defendant in custody to appear at Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast today via video link.

The court was told the defendant had other matters already listed for that date in Belfast.

On Saturday, police in Ballymena said they were investigating an incident of criminal damage to wreaths on the night of Friday, March 20.

A PSNI spokesperson had said on Saturday: “Shortly before 11pm police received a report that five poppy wreaths that had been placed at the War Memorial on Galgorm Road had been set on fire.

“The wreaths were destroyed as a result of the incident. Police are treating this incident as a sectarian motivated hate crime.”

Belfast Telegraph