Bail for man accused of taking part in masked colour party

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A 41-year-old man has appeared in court accused of taking part in a masked colour party at an Easter Sunday commemoration in the city cemetery.

Patrick John McDaid, of 57 Beechwood Avenue, is charged with assisting in, arranging or organising a meeting which he knew to be in support of the IRA on April 25, last.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that a statement was read out by a masked man at the commemoration on behalf of the Real IRA, which threatened further violence against catholic police officers.

A prosecution barrister said that following the commemoration, police searched a number of homes, including the defendants and other members of 32 County Sovereignity Movement.

It is alleged that officers found a minute book, which indicated McDaid was in charge of organising the colour party for the commemoration.

The prosecutor told the court police also found photos of the masked man in front of the colour party and on the 41-year-old’s computer had discovered images of police carrying out their duties.

She revealed that an independant forensic expert has compared the photos of the masked man with photos of McDaid and his intial report claims there are “some common features between them.”

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said this type of evidence is “notoriously unreliable” and submitted it “will not stand up to the evidential test required for conviction.”

He said that other people charged in connection with the commemoration had been released on bail with conditions and urged the judge to do the same with McDaid.

District Judge Barney McElholm granted bail with a number of conditions.

He told the court “If it were proven that someone was one of the masked individuals who were instrumental in reading out that fowl and repulsive speech, they would not be getting bail. But we are a long way from that in this case.”

McDaid was released on his own bail of £1000 cash and one surety of £1000. He was orderd to abide by a curfew and banned from leaving Derry.

The 41-year-old was also ordered to surrender his passport and banned from attending any illegal or prohibited public meetings.

McDaid will appear in court again on December 22.