Judge refuses anonymity extension

A judge has refused to extend an anonymity order of a man convicted of drugs offences.

Raymond Coyle, who was shot in the legs by paramilitaries in January 2010, was granted an anonymity order on the grounds of right to life.

The 55-year-old was convicted of possessing mephedrone with intent to supply and simple possession of the class B drug and fined £1,000. The offences were committed on March 16, 2012.

The attack on Coyle in 2010, which occurred in his shop in the Waterloo Street area of the city, was later claimed by Republican Action Against Drugs.

In March 2012, the same shop was searched by the police under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The police sent 29 items from the shop for forensic examination and one of these was found to contain a quantity of the Class B drug mephedrone.

Police opposed the anonymity order being extended now that Coyle has been convicted.

An officer from the Pro-active Crime Team said the drug involved was commonly known as a so-called legal high. However, the drug was ‘a psycho-active substance’ which normally came in the form of bath salt.

The officer said: “It is the PSNI’s wish to publish this type of conviction as it will inspire public confidence and re-assure the public in any concerns in relation to our on-going operations against illegal substances.”

Defence solicitor Paddy McDaid said his client believes there is still a threat against his life.

Refusing the application, District Judge Barney McElholm a groundswell of public opposition against such illegal substances the public have a right to know the issue is being tackled by the PSNI.