Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of ATM blast attack is denied bid for foreign holiday

By Michael Donnelly

A Romanian man living in Co Tyrone awaiting trial in Belfast for his alleged involvement in an attempt to blast open an ATM machine has failed to have his passport returned to holiday in Europe.

However, Ioan Anton, of Terryglassog Road in Dungannon, is to have his tag removed for a weekend to attend hospital in Dublin, and then for a week to have a holiday anywhere in Ireland with his family.

Anton, who moved here in 1998, is accused of causing an explosion, with intent to endanger life during the attempted theft from a Costcutter's store ATM in Hamiltonsbawn on June 5, 2014.

Defence lawyer Plunkett Nugent told Newry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that initially Anton, who operates a car wash employing five people, wanted his leg-tag removed so he could undergo an MRI scan in a Dublin hospital.

Mr Nugent said he was also seeking permission to travel either to Italy or Spain for a holiday with his wife and two children before his trial in October.

The lawyer explained while he lives in Northern Ireland, he is permitted to spend his weekends in Dublin with his family.

Anton, he added, "has had ample opportunity to flee", but instead had met all his bail conditions, even lodging a cash bond of £2,000 in court, which could be doubled, if needed.

Opposing the bail variations, Michael Chambers claimed the evidence against Anton and a co-accused was "quite compelling", and if convicted could attract a sentence of 15 years or more. The authorities, he said would not only object to his tag being removed for a week, but also object to any prospect of Anton getting back his passport.

Judge Brian Sherrard said given the background, in terms of Anton being allowed to travel to the Republic of Ireland, the tag should be removed for the week-end of the renewed hospital visit.

However, he said the holiday "is the more troubling aspect", and that he "shared the concerns of the PPS" with regard to the oncoming trial and the real concerns of Anton absconding.

He added that while Anton had been "trusted with some latitude" with his bail, he was "not prepared" to allow him to go on a foreign holiday, but would grant him one in Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph