Released with bail warning

A man charged with threatening to kill his ex-partner, assaulting her and four prison staff and intimidation of witnesses was released on bail from custody after he spent longer on remand than he would have if found guilty.

John Harkin is charged with threats to kill on Feburary 7 and 23 of this year. The 32 year-old is contesting the charges and has spent the time on remand awaiting trial.

At Derry Magistrate’s Court on Monday, defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said: “My client has been in custody from February, which means he has served longer in jail than a sentence for conviction would merit.”

Deputy District Judge Peter Conway, said: “Taking into account that he has been in custody longer than the maximum sentencing guidelines custody is no longer necessary and is not proportionate to the crimes. Therefore I find myself of the opinion that the bail application should be upheld.

“Any objections to his bail would not counter act the fact he has spent more than the time we could impose if he was found guilty.”

Harkin of 20 Rathmore Park was also charged with the common assault of prison staff and making threats to kill on February 7. He is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm of his former partner on December 15 and 25, 2010, assault on January 22, 2011 and threats to kill on January 29, 2011.

Judge Conway released Harkin on his own bail of £250 on each of three sets of charges, ordered him not to contact the injured party and reside in Rathmore Park, warning: “Breach these conditions and you’ll be back in jail again.”

Harkin will contest the charges at Derry Magistrate’s Court on October 21.