Tony Taylor released on compassionate bail for Christmas

Tony Taylor.
Tony Taylor.

A Derry man accused of having a rifle linked to dissident republicans - who refused to be freed on bail because it would mean being electronically tagged - has today been granted compassionate bail for Christmas, without the tag.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told 44-year-old Anthony Michael Taylor, given the limited period of bail, from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day, it would not be necessary to have him tagged.

However, the Crown Court judge said that all other conditions of his original full bail would remain. They include the lodgement of £50,000 in court, that he resides at Farmhill, Derry, reports daily to the police and observes an 8pm curfew each evening.

Taylor, a member of Republican Network for Unity, is accused of possessing a semi-automatic rifle with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances on August 2, 2011. It was alleged at an earlier court hearing that he could be linked to the car in which a rifle was later found.

A prosecution lawyer said that Taylor had been granted full bail, but had failed to perfect it because it would involve having to wear an electronic tag, which was “a real issue for the accused .... a matter of principle”.

The laywer added that given his family circumstances, the prosecution were not unsympathic to his situation in wanting bail over the holiday period.

Defence lawyer Eugene Grant QC said while Taylor did not take his full bail, all he wanted now was the opportunity to spend a few days with his family over Christmas and nothing more.

Mr Grant added that one way of dealing with any fear of him absconding over the three days was for the police to call on him, if necessary.