Judge to make ruling on anonymity order in drugs case

The inquest took place at Ballymena Courthouse
The inquest took place at Ballymena Courthouse

The Recorder of Derry, Judge Philip Babington, will rule next month if an anonymity order granted to a man charged with drug offences has been properly applied.

During a case in Derry Crown Court today a local man pleaded guilty to nine charges of being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possessing class b and class c drugs in February 2 2013.

An adjournment was sought so that a pre-sentence report could be prepared the court was told that an anonymity order had been granted when the case was first in front of the Magistrate’s Court.

Defence barrister Mr. David Heraghty asked that that order be extended to the hearing in front of the Crown Court.

Judge Babington said that his understanding was that there had to be a specific threat against an individual for a anonymity order to be granted and not just a generalised threat.

Mr. Heraghty argued that once the information concerning the defendant entered the public domain ‘then the threat become real.’

He said: “There have been recent attacks in the Galliagh area where serious punishment beating have occurred.

“There is still an ongoing interest by dissident republicans in this city to mete out summary justice.”

Judge Babington asked for some evidence of a threat or otherwise to be produced and added that as far as the guidelines from the Court of Appeal went ‘a generalised threat was no good.’

He added that ‘there was whole sting of orders coming up and they had to be in accordance with the Court of Appeal.’

The case against the defendant will be heard on April 28 and a hearing on the anonymity application will take place on April 14.