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Antrim woman accused of breaching ASBO refused bail 


Police called at the 48-year-old's home

Police called at the 48-year-old's home

Police called at the 48-year-old's home

An Antrim woman with a history of making hoax calls breached her ASBO by having 40 internet-capable devices in her home, it was claimed today .

Joanne Elizabeth Mitchell is currently in custody, accused of breaching an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

She was arrested last Sunday following the second alleged breach, and made an application for bail at Belfast's High Court, which was refused.

Outlining the case against the 48-year-old, Crown barrister Mark Conlon said that on June 15, police called at Mitchell's Greenview Avenue home "in relation to a separate matter”.

Officers noticed two smartphones in the living room, which Mitchell is banned from having under the terms of an ASBO.

She told police there were other internet-enabled devices in the house, which prompted a search.

When interviewed, it was put to Mitchell that a total of 35 devices were located. She claimed she found these, most of them in the attic, and denied knowing anything about the two smartphones in the living room.

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On July 18, police called at the same address, where a further five internet-capable devices were found.

Mitchell was arrested again, and whilst she admitted the devices were found in her home, she claimed they didn't work and denied they could be connected to the internet.

Bail was opposed by the Crown due to concerns over further offending and breaching court orders.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey described his client as a "vulnerable lady" who, whilst in custody, is a "target for bullies due to these vulnerabilities”.

Asking Mr Justice McFarland to release Mitchell on bail, Mr McConkey said she needed to go home and care for her husband who has "significant physical limitations”.

Mr McConkey spoke of the length of time it would take to deal with Mitchell's case and expressed concerns she may spend the next six months in custody.

The Judge said that whilst he accepted this point, Mitchell had already served an eight-month prison sentence which "should have been a lesson to her" but appeared not to have been.

Saying it seemed there was a prima facie case of a breach of the ASBO, Mr Justice McFarland said Mitchell was "completely incapable of complying with court orders”.

The Judge said "if she is released on bail, she will almost certainly commit further offences" and "waste a lot of police time”.

He concluded the case by saying that with "some reluctance", he was refusing the application to release Mitchell on bail.

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