Bail tag to be altered so accused can have a smoke


A 26-year-old Co Antrim man accused of trying to kill a work colleague last Christmas is to have the area of his bail-tagging device extended by two metres so he can have a cigarette.

Coleraine Magistrates’ Court heard that without the variation Andrew Linton risked breaching his bail curfew every time he stepped outside his Main Street home in Cloughmills to light up.

District Judge Liam McNally, on hearing of the bail variation, said that “obviously there is someone in the house who does not want him to smoke”.

However, he initially refused the application as neither Linton, nor his lawyers, were in court to “move it”.

Defence lawyer Francis Rafferty later successfully re-applied for the variation.

Mr Rafferty, who explained that there had been a slight mix-up, acknowledged that “the court is always having to decide on competing interests” in cases, adding that while Linton wanted to smoke, others in the house “wanted him to go outside” – and therein lay the problem, as the tagging device ruled that out.

The tagging device monitors the movements of a bailed accused within a precise area, such as his home or the confines of a hostel.

Leaving that precise area automatically triggers the device and alerts the police to a breach in a person’s bail conditions, which could see him going directly back to jail.

Mr Rafferty said Linton’s application was for his perimeter to be extended by two metres, which would allow him to leave home – while remaining within its confines – without breaking his bail. He explained that while the security firm could facilitate such a move, they could not do so without leave of the court.

Linton is accused of the attempted murder of a colleague following a work Christmas party.

Although no details were given yesterday, a detective constable had previously told the Magistrates’ Court that Linton had allegedly punched his victim to the ground with a single blow. However, witnesses claimed he threw two further punches to the man’s head as he was lying unconscious.

As part of his bail he must abide by a curfew preventing him leaving home each evening, for whatever reason.