Murder accused bail revoked over ‘tag damage’

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A Derry man charged with murder has had his bail revoked over allegations he damaged an electronic tag.

Thomas Stokes, of The Old Fort, Strathfoyle, is charged with criminal damage of the tag on July 9.

The 22-year-old is currently on High Court bail accused of the murder of John Mongan in Belfast on February 7, 2008.

As part of his bail conditions he is electronically tagged and must abide by a curfew.

Derry Magistrate’s Court today heard that police were notified of the damage to the tag by Group 4 Security. They called to Stokes’s home and he claimed the damage, believed to be in the region of £200, was caused while he was in a sauna.

An investigating officer told the court G4S were not happy with this explanation, and would “suggest that if the tag was melting in the sauna so would the skin”.

She said police were concerned about Stokes being released on bail because he “may tamper with electronic monitoring equipment, may abscond or not turn up for court”.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle said his client had provided an account for how the tag was damaged and is “entitled to the presumption of innocence”.

He revealed the High Court had varied Stokes’s bail conditions recently to allow him to spend time at the wake of his uncle, who committed suicide in Maghaberry Prison.

Mr Kyle added the 22-year-old has not breached any other condition of bail and urged the court to allow him another chance.

Deputy District Judge Liam McNally said it was “incomprehensible” damage was caused to the tag in the sauna. He told Stokes he had interfered with the conditions of bail and would be remanded in custody as a result.

The 22-year-old will appear in court again via videolink on July 26.