Drug addict accused of robbing pharmacy granted compassionate bail

PACEMAKER BELFAST    EXTERIOR VIEW OF MAGHABERRY PRISON ONTHE OUTSKIRTS OF BELFAST.
PACEMAKER BELFAST EXTERIOR VIEW OF MAGHABERRY PRISON ONTHE OUTSKIRTS OF BELFAST.

A drug addict accused of hijacking a car, robbing a pharmacy and then setting fire to the vehicle hours after being freed by police is to be allowed out of prison for a family funeral.

Detectives opposed Iain Hynes’ bid for compassionate bail amid claims further offences could be committed.

But a judge at Belfast Magistrates’ Court granted temporary release from custody to attend his grandfather’s funeral on Saturday.

Hynes, of Donegall Road in the city, is accused of torching a Volkswagen Passat in a bid to destroy evidence linked to a hold-up earlier this month in the south of the city.

The 31-year-old faces charges of possessing an imitation firearm and taking eight boxes of codeine pills in a robbery at the Lisburn Road chemist on August 4.

He is also alleged to have carried out the hijacking in the nearby Dunluce Avenue area on the same date.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard previously he was arrested and questioned about those offences last weekend.

But seven hours after he was released on police bail he was detained again for allegedly burning the Passat before it could be recovered.

Hynes is further charged with arson and perverting the course of justice in connection with that incident on August 14.

At a hearing earlier this week police claimed he intentionally went out to destroy evidence by setting fire to the hijacked vehicle.

Hynes was described as a self-confessed codeine addict, with the drug said to cause him short-term memory loss.

Despite being refused bail at that stage, his lawyer returned to court today seeking compassionate bail following the family bereavement.

Solicitor Denis Moloney said: “All we are seeking is that he is able to pay his respects to his late grandfather.”

A PSNI officer expressed sympathy but confirmed his objection to Hynes getting out of custody.

Referring to the previous alleged incidents, he stressed: “Within the space of seven hours of being released (he was) arrested for another offence.”

But granting the application, District Judge Fiona Bagnall ruled Hynes can be released from HMP Maghaberry for just over three hours to attend the funeral.

She ordered the accused to remain in the company of his father until his return to prison.