Hold G8 in the desert - Judge

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A local judge has said the G8 summit is a “travelling Eurovision song contest” which is disrupting the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as he was told that a case was unlikely to progress because the investigating officer is on duty at the G8 in Co.Fermanagh.

Mark McPhillips, of Elmvale, faces a number of drugs and fraud offences allegedly committed between May and August last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the 34-year-old has been on remand for almost 13 months and a preliminary enquiry was due to be heard at the end of the month. However, a prosecutor said it is now unlikely that the PE date will be met.

Defence counsel Ivor McAteer asked the court to list a bail application on Monday.

Judge McElholm said he was unavailable on that day because he is “involved in this other farrago”.

District Judge McElholm is one of a number of judges who have been tasked with holding special courts in anticipation of a large number of arrests during the G8 summit.

He told the court the G8 is like a “travelling Eurovision song contest which has completely disrupted the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland”.

The judge added that “it would be better being held in the middle of the desert somewhere for all the good it does for anybody”.

Earlier, the judge was told of delays in another case and he said G8 was “putting everything else on the back burner. I hope it’s worth it”.

McPhillips’ case was adjourned until Wednesday.