“Arrested for having no money” - court told

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A 43-year-old man who was unable to afford electricity to power an electronic tag was arrested for a breach of bail.

Gerard Columba Cutliffe, who is originally from Buncrana but now resides in the Bonds Hill area of Derry, had been released on bail while facing charges of fraud by false representation.

The 43-year-old faces a total of seven charges including possessing articles for use in fraud between February 11, 2005 and September 19, last year.

He was arrested earlier this week for breach of bail, despite reporting to G4S - the company that supplies electronic tags - that he had no money to top up his meter.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott told the court it was an “unusual situation” and his client was “essentially arrested for having no money”.

Mr MacDermott said that was a “ridiculous situation” and was “not very acceptable in this day and age”.

He added that a “bit of common sense” could have avoided Cutliffe being arrested.

District Judge Barney McElholm released the 43-year-old on bail and removed the condition that he be electronically tagged. Cutliffe will appear in court again on March 7.