Belfast Telegraph

Victim's friend held after bringing cocaine into courtroom

By George Jackson

A close friend of murder victim Karol Kelly appeared before a judge yesterday after he was arrested for bringing cocaine into a courtroom as two men were charged with the killing.

Joseph McCallion (22) from Glenowen Park is charged with possessing cocaine and with being concerned in supplying it.

His own lawyer said: "If there were prizes for being a criminal mastermind he would be at the bottom of the list."

A police officer told District Judge Barney McElholm that he came to court on Wednesday "as a spectator" to witness the appearance of two brothers charged with murdering Mr Kelly.

The officer said police had been looking for the defendant in relation to an assault charge and they also wanted to question him on suspicion of him supplying cocaine.

The police witness said the defendant was arrested in the courthouse on Wednesday. When he was searched officers found cocaine in his pocket.

When McCallion was taken to Strand Road Police Station he made a phone call to his mother in front of an officer.

"He spoke to his mother and advised his mother to contact the boys and get them to dump their mobile phones," the officer said.

The officer told Derry Magistrates Court the defendant admitted possessing the cocaine in the courtroom but refused to give the police the password to his phone which has been blocked by his network provider until March 20.

Defence solicitor Maeliosa Barr said the defendant's actions were extremely foolish.

"He was a very, very close friend of the person killed at the weekend and he lived with him," he said. "He was aware that the wake was on last night and he wants to attend his friend's funeral on Saturday. He is a low level dealer."

The judge refused bail and the defendant was remanded in custody until April 5.

Mr McElholm also refused to grant the defendant compassionate bail to attend Mr Kelly's funeral on Saturday.

Belfast Telegraph

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