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Belfast addict accused of broom handle raid denied bail

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A heroin addict alleged to have robbed a shop while armed with a broom handle has failed in a bid for release from a "frenzied atmosphere" in prison

A heroin addict alleged to have robbed a shop while armed with a broom handle has failed in a bid for release from a "frenzied atmosphere" in prison

A heroin addict alleged to have robbed a shop while armed with a broom handle has failed in a bid for release from a "frenzied atmosphere" in prison

A heroin addict alleged to have robbed a shop while armed with a broom handle has failed in a bid for release from a "frenzied atmosphere" in prison.

Daryl McCourt was refused bail despite his lawyer arguing some sentenced inmates are to be temporarily freed from prisons due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The 25-year-old, of London Road in Belfast, has been in custody since the alleged raid on November 24 last year.

He is charged with robbing a convenience store on the city's Dublin Road of £400 in cash and £100 worth of cigarettes.

McCourt faces further counts of possessing an offensive weapon with intent and assaulting a police-designated person.

A previous court heard a man entered the shop wielding a broken metal shaft, believed to be from a brush.

He demanded money before going behind the counter and taking cash and cigarettes.

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McCourt was later arrested in the Ormeau Road area.

According to the prosecution, he had a large amount of cash on him, including £200 down his sock, and 12 packets of cigarettes.

Mounting a fresh application for bail at Belfast Magistrates' Court yesterday, defence solicitor Damien Trainor stressed his client's troubled past.

"He spent a period homeless and developed an addiction to heroin," the lawyer said.

Arguing that McCourt's case could also be hit by delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Trainor added: "He's quite anxious and is not getting any visits in custody. That's all stopped. There's a bit of a frenzied atmosphere."

District Judge Amanda Henderson was told that, unlike prisoners who could be released because of the emergency, McCourt had not been convicted of the current offences.

Denying bail, however, she said: "The issue of ongoing delay is something we will all have to consider."


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