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Arson suspect first person charged with breaking coronavirus lockdown law in Northern Ireland

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Delaney is charged with damaging or destroying equipment belonging to O2

Delaney is charged with damaging or destroying equipment belonging to O2

Delaney is charged with damaging or destroying equipment belonging to O2

An alleged arsonist has become the first person in Northern Ireland to be charged with breaking new coronavirus lockdown rules.

Daniel Delaney appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, April 8, accused of flouting the restrictions on movement during the Covid-19 emergency.

The 18-year-old, of Elimgrove Street in the north of the city, was arrested in connection with a suspected arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

He is charged with damaging or destroying by fire telecommunications equipment belonging to O2 in the Oldpark Road area.

Delaney faces a further count of contravening the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restricitions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.

The sweeping new powers were agreed by the Stormont Executive in a bid to combat the spread of the virus.

The regulations prohibit members of the public from leaving home without a reasonable excuse, such as: shopping for basic necessities; one form of daily exercise; providing care to the vulnerable; or travelling to work if absolutely necessary.

Anyone found guilty of breaching the rules could be fined.

Appearing via video-link due to the lockdown, Delaney confirmed that he understood the charges against him.

No further details about the alleged offences were disclosed during the brief court hearing.

A defence solicitor confirmed: "There is no bail application as there is no suitable address at this stage."

District Judge George Conner remanded Delaney in custody, to appear again in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph