05 January 2006

Ward banned from court


by Damian McCarney

Laganside Magistrates Court yesterday was in Alice in Wonderland territory when a man compelled to appear in court was barred from turning up.
Poleglass man Chris Ward, who is charged with the £26.5 million Northern Bank robbery in December 2004, was due to appear for a remand hearing at the Belfast court on Wednesday.

However, a fortnight ago Mr Ward received bail from the High Court, and a condition of the bail imposed by Lord Justice Campbell stipulated that the 24-year-old was not permitted to come within a mile radius of Belfast City Hall.

This was intended to prevent the former Northern Bank employee from interfering with prosecution witnesses, who may include other employees of the city centre bank.

In Mr Ward’s absence, a representative from his solicitors, Winters & Co, informed the Magistrates Court that it was not possible for the defendant to appear in court without breaching his bail conditions, as the venue is located only a few hundred yards from Belfast City Hall. The hearing was adjourned until February 15, and in the meantime it is expected that there will be an application for a variation in the terms of his bail.

Journalist:: Damien McCarney

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