Refused bail due to “threat he poses”

A judge has refused to release a man accused of threatening to set police officers on fire because of “the potential threat he poses”.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comments during a bail application for 29-year-old James McLaughlin.

McLaughlin, of Glenshane Road, Feeny, is charged with arson, five charges of making a threat to kill, possession of offensive weapons, threat to damage property and attempted arson.

The charges relate to an alleged incident on September 8.

Derry Magistrates Court yesterday heard claims police were called by McLaughlin’s father because the 29-year-old was under the influence of drink and drugs and had made threats to his wife.

It is alleged when police arrived at the house, McLaughlin had petrol and shouted “I don’t give a f*** about you. I will set you all on fire”. He then attempted to throw petrol over the officers, who drew their guns.

The court heard allegations he threw the petrol over two police cars setting one of them on fire.

It was alleged he then ran off and when police caught up with him he was swinging a hurl. Officers had to use CS spray in order to arrest the 29-year-old.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said police had concerns McLaughlin could harm himself or police if they were called to a further incident. He added officers also have fears he would interfere with witnesses.

Defence solicitor John Fahy told the court his client has no criminal record and the suggested bail address is Gransha Hospital.

Concerns

District Judge Barney McElholm said he had “enormous concerns” about the case. He said if there was a way for him to remand him into Gransha or another facility he would do so. However, he said the current laws do not give him the power to do this and McLaughlin could walk out of Gransha at any time.

Refusing bail, the judge said “I would not feel safe granting this man bail because of the potential threat he poses.”

McLaughlin was remanded in custody to appear in court again on November 8.