Judge orders anonymity for drugs accused

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A district judge has granted anonymity to three men accused of possessing £150,000 of cannabis.

District Judge Barney McElholm ordered that nothing be published by the press which would identify the defendants.

He made the order under Section 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects the right to life.

The judge also quoted from a ruling from the Supreme Court and the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, which supported his power to make such an order.

During the hearing at Derry Magistrate’s Court this morning, the defendants were referred to as ‘AB’, ‘CD’, and ‘EF’.

‘AB’, aged 44, is charged with being concerned in the supply of cannabis, supplying cannabis, possession of the drug with intent to supply and simple possession of the drug.

‘CD’, aged 21, is accused of possessing cannabis with intent to supply, supplying the Class B drug and simple possession.

The third defendant, who was referred to as ‘EF’, aged 30, faces two charges of possessing cannabis, two of possession with intent to supply, concealing criminal property and driving offences.

The charges relate to the alleged seizure of cannabis with a street value of £150,000 in the Blackthorn Manor area of the city’s Waterside on August 3.

The court heard that during a search of a property by Organised Crime Branch £19,000 in cash was also found.

The defendants were refused bail and will appear in court again at a later date.

The judge ordered that the date of the next remand hearing must not be published.

(Read more in tomorrow’s Derry Journal).