Robbery accused ‘part of a wider group involved in criminal and anti-social behaviour’ in Derry

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Police believe a man accused of a robbery at a flat on the Northland Road is ‘part of a wider group involved in criminal and anti-social behaviour in the city, a court has heard.

Joseph McCallion, of Glenowen Park, is charged with robbery of cash, Christmas presents, a wallet and mobile phones.

The 20-year-old is further charged with possessing a gun and a large kitchen knife, false imprisonment and common assault.

The charges relate to an alleged incident in the early hours of December 12.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations that three males entered the property shortly before 2am.

A couple were in the flat at the time and the female allegedly identified McCallion.

One of the trio was holding a hand gun and it is alleged McCallion was in possession of a large knife.

Two of them attacked the man and were rifling through his pockets. He was repeatedly struck by the person holding the firearm.

It is alleged McCallion falsely imprisoned the woman in her bedroom and took her mobile phone off her.

He also allegedly grabbed her wrist and twisted it.

The court heard allegations the 20-year-old began rifling under the bed looking for a money box.

The trio left allegedly taking a number of items with them.

An investigating officer told the court police found a firearm in the attic of a property in Glenowen Park.

He also claimed that both witnesses had identified the defendant at an identification procedure.

Opposing bail, the officer said police believe McCallion is ‘part of a wider group involved in criminal and anti-social behaviour in the city’.

He added police fear the defendant will commit further offences or interfere with witnesses and the ongoing investigation.

The officer told the court police believe the 20-year-old ‘poses a serious risk to the public given the circumstances of this incident’.

Defence solicitor Maeliosa Barr said his client does not have any convictions ‘for these very serious type of offences’.

He added there is a bail address and the court could impose conditions that would allow the police to ‘keep a very close eye on this young man’.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail for fear of further offences.

He said this was an ‘extremely serious matter. A firearm was used in the commission of this offence and a knife. This was a home invasion’.

The judge added he did not feel the court could impose any bail conditions that ‘could successfully deter him from further offending’.

McCallion was remanded in custody to appear in court again via videolink on January 7.