Derry binge drinker ‘can’t remember petrol bomb attack on police’

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A call centre worker accused of petrol bombing a police Land Rover in Derry has no memory of the attack, the High Court has heard.

Jason Doherty’s lawyer said he had been binge-drinking for days before allegedly hurling up to four devices at the vehicle at Strand Road PSNI station last week.

Granting bail to the 27-year-old, a judge described his behaviour as “bizarre” and “inexplicable”.

Doherty, of Elmwood House on Northland Avenue in the city, is charged with making, possessing and throwing petrol bombs on November 2.

He faces further counts of arson endangering the life of police officers, criminal damage and disorderly behaviour.

Prosecution counsel Kate McKay claimed he was captured on CCTV arriving outside the station carrying a plastic bag.

The footage depicted him lifting out devices and throwing them at a Land Rover before running away. One of the devices ignited on the vehicle.

Doherty allegedly carried out the attack in full view of members of the public, including elderly patrons of a nearby bingo hall.

He was arrested a short time later and when the police searched his flat they found bottles of white spirits, sugar and bottles with pieces of cloth stuffed into the neck, the court heard.

During questioning he was shown the CCTV recordings but insisted that he had no recollection, telling police he wished no harm on any officers.

David Heraghty, defending, confirmed his client has made admissions abouthis alleged actions.

The barrister contended that his client had been working long hours in his call centre job and battling the “demons” of stress and anxiety.

Doherty had just been paid and went on a major drinking session, according to his lawyer.

Mr Heraghty said: “This is the culmination of a number of days binge drinking, the impact it had on his thinking and the affect on his ability to recall events clearly.”

Following submissions Mr Justice Colton said there appeared to be no rationale behind the incident.

“This is an alarming and bizarre case, the actions of the applicant are simply inexplicable,” he added.

However, the judge decided Doherty could be bailed on strict conditions.

The accused was ordered to abide by a curfew, electronic tagging and banned from taking alcohol.