Bail for man with ‘unenviable criminal record’

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A 28-year-old man with an “unenviable criminal record” was released on High Court bail on Monday after it emerged that a bed is available for him at the Simon Community in Armagh.

Rodney Barnes, who is originally from Greenvale Drive in Cookstown, has 44 previous convictions in Northern Ireland as well as a criminal record in the Republic.

The High Court in Belfast heard that Barnes is facing a charge of going equipped for theft after a car he was a passenger in was stopped by police in the early hours of July 23, 2013.

A Crown prosecutor said that items were found in the car which suggested Barnes was going equipped for theft.

The prosecutor, Kate McKay, said Barnes told officers he was transporting the items to his parents’ house. Pointing out the car was stopped in the early hours, Mrs McKay said Barnes had failed to “give a reasonable explanation why he was going there at that time of night”.

Mrs McKay also told the court: “On its own, the matter is perhaps not the most serious, given that no-one was actually burgled. However, police have concerns about his lengthy criminal record, both here and in the Republic of Ireland.”

A defence barrister said his client was denying the charge against him.

Mr Justice Horner agreed to release Barnes on his own recognisance of £750 and imposed several conditions. These included living at the Simon Community, obeying an 8pm to 8am curfew and reporting to police on a daily basis. Barnes was also banned from consuming alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

Saying Barnes had an “unenviable criminal record”, Mr Justice Horner warned the accused to abide by the bail conditions, or face being returned to custody.