A Co Armagh schoolboy admitted putting a wheelie bin on a railway line “to entice police into the area,” a court heard on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old, who cannot be identified because of his age, appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court where he was charged with three offences arising from public disorder in the Kilwilkie area on Monday when two police officers were injured.
Standing outside the dock flanked by prison officers with his parents sat close by in the public gallery, the Lurgan teenager was charged with arson of a wheelie bin, placing a wheelie bin on the railway line and rioting at Lake Street in the town on 28 March this year.
Giving evidence to the court, Constable Montgomery said she believed she could connect the boy to the offences and that despite his young age, police were objecting to bail.
The officer said during police interviews, the teenager admitted he had put the wheelie bin on the train line “to stop the railway and to entice police into the area”.
She told the court “there was a group of around 40 people around most of the day”.
During an exchange with District Judge Amanda Henderson, she agreed “there was an element of peer pressure from older persons involved” and that the 15-year-old has “no record whatsoever.”
Releasing the boy on his own bail of £75 with his father to stand as a £500 surety, the judge told him he was only being freed “because of your age and because there’s a presumption of bail for someone your age.”
Judge Henderson warned the teenager however that if he breached any of the conditions or reoffended in anyway, his father would lose that money “and it’s unlikely that you will be released again”.
“I emphasise these are serious offences,” said the judge, “it’s unusual for someone with no record to come to court with offences of this gravity and it’s only because of your age, clear parental support and clear record that I’m persuaded to grant you bail.”
As part of his bail conditions, Judge Henderson barred the schoolboy from concealing his identity in public in that he is not to cover his head or face in anyway and from associating with any more than two people under 18 except for going to or returning from school.
She also ordered him to reside at home and to observe a curfew from 10pm to 8am.
The teenager is next due before the Youth Court on 12 April.
Another 15-year-old boy has been charged with riotous behaviour, making a petrol bomb and throwing a petrol bomb and is expected to appear at that same court hearing.