Judge hears case in courtyard as defendant deemed too dangerous to be brought out of police van

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

A special sitting was convened in the courtyard of Bishop Street Courthouse after a defendant was deemed too dangerous to be brought out of the police van.

Barry Gordon Whittle was kept in the back of a police van and was wearing leg restraints throughout the brief hearing.

The District Judge, a court clerk, prosecution and defence solicitors were accompanied by five police officers and six prison officers in the courtyard.

Whittle, of Clareen Drive, is charged with disorderly behaviour on licensed premises on March 14.

The court heard the alleged incident occurred in The Belfray after the 34-year-old’s mother’s funeral.

An investigating officer told the court she believed she could connect Whittle to the charge.

She said the defendant is currently on bail accused of assault and had breached the conditions by consuming alcohol.

The court also heard the defendant has 67 previous convictions.

Opposing bail, the officer said Whittle’s ‘entire family is terrified of him. They don’t want him back in the family home or to a bail address in the Strathfoyle area’.

The officer added police ‘honestly believe everyone in Strathfoyle will be out to get him’.

The court also heard police don’t believe the proposed bail address is suitable.

The investigating officer applied for a remand in custody for Whittle’s ‘own safety and the safety of others’.

Bail was refused and Whittle was remanded in custody until March 22.

The defendant asked if he would be taken to visit his mother’s grave on the way to Maghaberry.