Belfast Telegraph

Judge blames Brexit as he refuses to allow Republic bail address

Barney McElholm described the EU exit process as an
Barney McElholm described the EU exit process as an "abominable exercise in misgovernment" which could result in people living in the Republic no longer being subject to extradition to Northern Ireland (stock picture)

By George Jackson

A District Judge in Londonderry has said he will no longer accept bail addresses in the Irish Republic for defendants because of the uncertainty over Brexit.

Barney McElholm described the EU exit process as an "abominable exercise in misgovernment" which could result in people living in the Republic no longer being subject to extradition to Northern Ireland.

"We are nearly three years down the line and still nobody has even a sketch of a plan," he said. "None of us knows what is going to happen in relation to the way we are going to be governed - and I use that term extremely loosely.

"It would suggest little optimism at the moment that some agreed way forward is going to be reached. We could even have the situation arise where anyone living in the Republic of Ireland will not be subject to the extradition laws of this jurisdiction."

Mr McElholm was speaking during a bail application for a 32-year-old man who was extradited yesterday morning and brought to court.

John Paul McGowan, with an address at Mill Glen in Moville, Co Donegal, skipped bail in May 2015.

He is charged with assaulting a man and with unlawfully fighting and affray, all in September 2014.

A detective constable told the court that a European Extradition Warrant had been issued for the defendant last November.

She said she opposed bail on the basis that she believed, if released, the defendant would return back across the border.

Following his arrest by gardai last year the defendant was initially refused bail. It was later granted by the High Court after his mother lodged a cash surety of €6,000.

McGowan's solicitor said the defendant's proposed bail address was in Moville and his mother was willing to lodge another cash surety of several thousand pounds.

However the District Judge said that amount would not be nearly enough, nor was the Co Donegal bail address acceptable.

Mr McElholm said: "If he had come back voluntarily, that is one thing. But he waited until the entire extradition process was completed and then he showed no willingness to come back and face the music. Bail is refused because of risk of flight."

The defendant was remanded in custody until April 4.

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