Dingwell Park a ‘crime epicentre’

Craigavon Crown Court.
Craigavon Crown Court.

A young man who is alleged to have acted as a look-out in an armed robbery in Lurgan was granted bail last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

But police had opposed the bail application claiming that the defendant was going to be at an address in the ‘epicentre of crime in Taghnevan’.

Jason Hughes (18), no fixed abode, appeared by way of videolink from Hydebank young offenders’ centre at last Friday’s court.

The charge against him alleges that on August 7 this year he was involved in the robbery of £60 from two females.

A detective constable told last Friday’s court that a co-accused of the defendant entered a shop allegedly armed with a knife after Hughes had nodded to him. Both were known to the members of staff.

The officer said that the police objection to the proposed bail address at Dingwell Park was that this was the ‘epicentre of crime’ in Taghnevan and the flat was close to where a murder had occurred two months ago.

He added that the flat belonged to the girlfriend of the defendant’s brother.

The officer believed there was a risk of re-offending and Hughes had a history of breaking bail conditions.

Mr Conor Downey, representing Hughes, said that it was accepted that this lady had a very settling influence on the defendant’s brother and there had been a marked change in his behaviour.

He explained that the co-accused was much older than his client and had a conviction for armed robbery yet he was on bail.

Mr Downey said it was the other person who was armed with the knife and Hughes was acting as a look-out.

He added that with a backlog of cases in the Crown Court this case may not be dealt with by the summer of 2016.

Mr Downey also told the court that Hughes would be prepared to abide by any stringent conditions.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said that given the co-accused was on bail and it seems Hughes’s involvement was at the lower end he would grant him bail.

He released Hughes on his own bail of £250, with one surety of £500, and the conditions that he is tagged, does not consume alcohol, has no contact with the co-accused, is subject to a curfew from 9pm to 7am and is to reside at an address in Dingwell Park.