A candidate in May’s local government election, charged with causing damage to Derry Walls, has had his bail conditions amended to allow him to carry out his campaign.
Gary Donnelly (43), of Iniscarn Crescent, who is standing as an independent candidate, appeared at Derry Magistrates Court this morning where he applied for his bail conditions to be amended.
He and co-accused, Terence Porter (55), from Carnhill, are currently on bail related to the alleged painting of political graffiti on the walls on 1 February last.
Part of their bail conditions was they observe a curfew between the hours of 8.00pm and 8.00am.
At this morning’s court hearing, Mr Donnelly’s solicitor, Paddy MacDermott, applied for his curfew to be put back until after the election, adding it was inhibiting his ability to take part in the democratic process.
Mr MacDermott said as a result of original curfew, his client had missed out on attending a number of public meetings related to his election campaign.
Objecting to the change of curfew hours, a PSNI officer told the court the alleged incident occurred during the hours of darkness and the accused had a total of 29 previous convictions for offences including disorderly behaviour, riotous behaviour, assault on police and arson,
The officer told the court the damage caused to the walls amounted to £2,292, a bill which would have to be paid by taxpayers, pointing out Donnelly was standing for public office which he described as “a civic position which should warrant integrity.”
The officer said no curfew had been placed on a third man charged in connection with the alleged incident as he had sustained a broken leg.
Stating he would not expect anyone to be “knocking” on his door late at night, District Judge Barney McElholm changed Donnelly’s curfew hours from 10.00pm and 8.00am.
In regards to public meetings, Mr McElholm said the 10.o00pm curfew could be extended if police were given 48 hours notice.
Donnelly and Porter are due back in court again on 28 March.