Riot accused banned from living in Creggan

One of the men charged in connection with the rioting on the night journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead has been refused permission to go back to reside in his home in Creggan.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:35 pm
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Christopher Gillen (38) of Balbane Pass, is currently on bail charged with riotous assembly, possessing and throwing petrol bombs, arson and hijacking on April 18 last year.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott told Derry Magistrate’s Court his client was applying to vary his bail so he could return to his home in Creggan. He said Gillen was currently residing with his parents in Cornshell Fields.

A police officer told the court that Gillen had been released on bail in November with a number of conditions, including an exclusion zone.

She said on December 5 an application was granted to reduce that zone to facilitate Gillen’s contact with his children.

The officer said that police believe an address in Creggan is unsuitable for this defendant due to the risk of witness interference and the risk of re-offending.

She confirmed that the High Court had permitted Gillen to go in to Creggan over the Christmas period.

She told the court that Gillen had to travel in and out of the area and there had been no issues.

Mr MacDermott told the court that ‘the natural place for him to be is in his own home’ as the exclusion zone was causing difficulty in the day to day care of Gillen’s children.

The solicitor said there was no reason why the 38-year-old could not be allowed back to Creggan as he had been permitted in the estate over the Christmas period.

He added that there had been no public disorder in Creggan since October.

Refusing the application, District Judge Barney McElholm said: “It is getting very close to something and if the media are to be believed, and there is no reason why not, there are plans for all sorts of triumphalist demonstrations.”

The case was adjourned until February 6.