‘Scumbags’ outburst as hijacking accused denied bail

Court
Court

A Belfast man accused of attempting to hijack three vehicles, including a Translink bus, has been refused bail over concerns he may reoffend.

As he was being led from the dock of Belfast Crown Court, Kenneth Neil Colwell from Forthriver Link in the north of the city, shouted: “You let dissident republicans out but you won’t let me out. Scumbags.”

Prior to the outburst, a Crown prosecutor said bail for Colwell was being opposed due to a concern that he would reoffend.

The 24-year-old father of one has spent almost a year on remand after he was arrested and charged with attempting to hijack three vehicles on March 23 last year.

He is also charged with two counts of possessing an imitiation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the same date.

The court heard Colwell has denied all five charges levelled against him and will be facing trial on a date yet to be fixed.

Prosecutor Sam Magee told the court the accused has been charged with trying to take by force three separate vehicles in and around the Shankill area of the city.

Colwell is accused of standing in the middle of the road and trying to steal a car, of pointing an imitation firearm at a bus driver, and also of jumping on the bonnet of a third car he tried to steal.

On the latter occasion, the male motorist drove off, causing injuries to Colwell which the Crown say led to his arrest.

A defence barrister pointed out that Colwell has been on remand for almost a year, and that whilst in HMP Maghaberry he has been made an orderly and completed a drugs counselling course.

He added the imitation firearm was in fact a laser pen shaped like a gun which he said “clearly wasn’t a firearm”.

Seeking bail, the defence barrister proposed a bail address close to Musgrave Street police station and said Colwell’s mother was prepared to provide a £1,000 cash surety.

After listening to submissions, Judge Kerr refused bail on the grounds there was a “high risk” of reoffending, and also because Colwell’s trial will be taking place soon.