Bail refused for man who made hoax bomb warning

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Bail has been refused in the case of a Draperstown man who made a hoax call to police in Derry stating that he had placed a viable explosive device somewhere in the city.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard this morning that Daryl Harvey, 29, of Brackaghlislea Road, made the call to police at Strand Road in the early hours of Monday morning from a phonebox at the corner of Sackville Street.

He told police he had planted a viable device in the city. CCTV cameras in the Sackville Street area picked up images of the defendant in the phonebox at the time of call and police were tasked to Sackville Street where they arrested Harvey.

At the time of his arrest, Harvey was extremely intoxicated - breaking a previous bail condition which banned him from consuming any intoxicating liquor. He initially gave police false details but subsequent checks were able to identify the defendant.

As he was being put into the police transport, he kicked out and spat at a police officer and had to be restrained.

The court was told that police were objecting to bail being granted as this latest offence occurred just seven days after Harvey was released on bail - in relation to identical charges including making a hoax bomb warning.

A PSNI Constable told the court that police considered Harvey to be a high risk of reoffending.

He added that only for the fact CCTV was able to pick up images of the defendant, a major incident would have had to be declared in the city to deal with the perceived security risk.

A defence solicitor acting on behalf of Harvey said he knew that he had a “difficult case to make” in applying for bail for his client.

However he said his client had experienced a very traumatic childhood at the hands of his father and as such was very emotionally unstable and had a reliance on alcohol as a coping mechanism.

He said his client had been diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and after a considerable wait had recently started intensive counselling and therapy with a psychotherapist in Magherafelt.

He said that two weeks ago Harvey admitted he was struggling and had his medication increased - but had also turned to using alcohol more as a coping mechanism.

He asked that the District Judge, Barney McElholm, consider releasing Harvey on bail with exceptionally tight conditions so that he be able to continue to access his counselling and therapy.

He said that if Harvey was forced to leave treatment at this stage it could “set him back light years”.

Mr Elholm said that while agreed that prison may not be the best place for someone with such complex mental health difficulties, he could not see a viable alternative.

“My primary role is to safeguard the general public and this incident could have caused severe disruption to people in this city.

“If there was an institution where I could send this man where he could undergo treatment and be prevented from reoffending, I would do so. But no such institution exists in this country.”

Mr Elholm said he was refusing bail on the grounds of the risk of Harvey reoffending adding that the defendant had “only himself to blame”.