Belfast Telegraph

Strict bail for man accused of assaulting primary school principal in Northern Ireland

It is alleged Ward attacked the principal
It is alleged Ward attacked the principal

A County Tyrone man has appeared in court on charges relating to an incident in a primary school, in which it is alleged the principal was assaulted.

Thirty-one-year-old Paddy Ward from Torrent Valley, Coalisland, is also accused of using disorderly behaviour at Primate Dixon Primary School on 24 September and damaging a door.

A police officer told Dungannon Magistrates Court the charges could be connected.

An issue arose over bail conditions when District Judge Mark McGarrity ordered Ward not to enter the school or contact the principal.

This visibly annoyed the defendant, whose solicitor said an invitation had been received from the school for a meeting in an attempt to resolve the issues.

He explained Ward’s child attends the school  and he had been leaving the child off each morning by driving his car right up to the doors.

On the day in question, staff requested he cease this practice, leading to an argument.

It is alleged Ward attacked the principal when he attempted to intervene and police were called.

Following arrest, Ward was charged and released on bail to attend court.

However, in the meantime, the school has offered a meeting to discuss the incident and the child’s future education.

This meant some of the bail terms would be problematic, so the defence suggested contact with the principal and entering the school, could be allowed strictly by invitation and appropriately accompanied.

District Judge Mark McGarrity took this on board, but a prosecution lawyer warned the principal is the alleged victim, therefore contact was an issue during a live case.

As such the judge agreed to adjust the conditions, but stipulated, “Any invitation must be in writing. Nothing else will satisfy the court.”

Bail was set at £300 with Judge McGarrity emphasising to Ward the importance of adherence to conditions.

Ahead of the hearing, Ward approached press indicating his objections to the case being published. However no formal application was made to the court, seeking to prevent or restrict reporting of any aspect.

The matter will return next week.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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