Lyra McKee riot accused refused bail variation to allow him live in lower Creggan

One of the men charged in connection with the rioting on the night journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead should be held up as 'a poster boy' for renouncing the use of violence Derry Magistrates' Court heard today.

Joe Barr
Joe Barr

Joseph Barr (34) of Cecilia's Walk in Derry is charged with rioting and petrol bomb offences on April 18, 2019.

He was applying today for his bail to be varied to allow him to enter the cityside of Derry and to return to live at his home address.

A prosecution barrister said there were objections to bail on the grounds that the High Court Judge who had granted bail had seen fit to impose these conditions.

She said there had not been any change of circumstances.

The court heard that one of the reasons why Barr was excluded from the Creggan area was because this area was 'the power base of dissident republicanism' in the city.

She said that if Barr returned to his home address he would be within 1 kilometre of five of his co-accused.

Defence counsel Andrew Moriarity said that Barr had renounced violence and had been put off the republican wing in Maghaberry within 45 minutes of him making his statement.

He said that the significance of such a move by a republican should not be underestimated.

He cited a statement from the dissident republican group Saoradh which the barrister told the court had been aimed at Barr and another man who had renounced violence.

District Judge Barney McElholm said he was all too aware of the attitude republicans had towards those who renounced violence.

He said republicans 'don't like people who renounce violence and work within the law'.

The judge said he had personal experience of this as following what he termed the 'brutal and callous murders on the streets of this city' on Bloody Sunday many people his age had two choices.

He said that the choices were 'catch a bus to Derry and join up as many were doing or find another way'.

Judge McElholm said he was opposed to all forms of violence.

But the judge said what was 'inescapable' was that the High Court had imposed these conditions and that Barr faced very serious charges.

He refused the variation and said Barr could go to the High Court if he wished.

The case was adjourned until next month.