A teenager facing trial for robbing a small shop in Co Tyrone armed with a hammer was refused bail yesterday.
Xavier Jalo-Caldeirinha, from Lambfield House in Dungannon, is currently on remand, charged with robbing a member of staff at a corner shop in Dungannon of cash and cigarettes, and of possessing a hammer in Milltown Street, dating back to March 2019.
A bail application was made at Belfast Crown Court by defence barrister Craig Patton, who said that as his client's trial had now been put back due to the pandemic, Jalo-Caldeirinha "will remain in custody for a considerable period of time at a time when custody has been recognised by the court as being more of a punishment than usual".
Both Mr Patton and Crown prosecutor Stephen McCourt gave submissions to Judge Patrick Kinney at a remote hearing.
Mr McCourt said that Jalo-Caldeirinha's release on bail was being objected to for a number of reasons, including concerns he would not turn up for a court and a risk of re-offending.
He also raised concerns that if released, the defendant may interfere with witnesses.
Setting out the Crown case against Jalo-Caldeirinha, Mr McCourt said: "When he was leaving the shop, the witness said the robber nodded at him in a way to suggest he knew him."
The prosecutor confirmed there had been six previous breaches of bail, including breaching curfew and damaging his electronic tag.
Addressing the Crown's concerns of witness interference, Mr Patton said that when his client was on bail in the past, there was never any attempt to contact the witness or the shop owners.
The barrister said his client never tried to flee the jurisdiction, but he had turned up to court on the wrong day as he did not have a mobile phone and was relying on others to relay information about court to him.
Jalo-Caldeirinha had been due to stand trial on June 3, but Mr Patton said as this was "clearly not going to happen now", his 19-year-old client was going to be on remand "for a considerable period of time" during the Covid-19 crisis.
Telling Judge Kinney that Jalo-Caldeirinha would abide by any bail conditions imposed, Mr Patton said: "He could be released in the knowledge that if he breached this bail, he will be remanded to custody ... where he will remain for some time."
After listening to both submissions, Judge Kinney said Jalo-Caldeirinha had a "significant criminal record for his age", and noted the previous breaches of bail.
Judge Kinney said these breaches - including damaging his tag - had displayed Jalo-Caldeirinha's "complete disregard" for court conditions.
The application was refused by the judge, who said that no conditions imposed would mitigate against the risks posed.