Cookstown man arrested after two years at large

A COOKSTOWN man arrested by bench warrant after he failed to turn up for a case two years ago said he had been dealt with by a “kangaroo court.”

Denis John Vincent Paul Patrick Reid (30) from Coolnafranky Park had been charged with drink driving, and having no licence or insurance after he was caught at Retreat Road, Omagh on April 5 2007.

He denied the charges but failed to turn up for a contest at East Tyrone Magistrates Court in October 2009, and was convicted in his absence, with a bench warrant being issued for his arrest. He additionally failed to appear for a separate hearing in Craigavon Magistrates Court around the same time, where a warrant was also issued.

Reid appeared in the dock in Dungannon where he repeatedly said he had not seen a solicitor. He told District Judge John Meehan, “I have no legal representation here. I have a solicitor but no-one has even spoken to me. I don’t know what’s going on. I was brought here and just put into a cell.”

Judge Meehan told Reid his original solicitor had come off record when he failed to turn up for the contest. Reid was also informed, “You have been arrested by bench warrant after being unanswerable in these matters for some time. You will go from here with police to have the other bench warrant executed in Craigavon. I am remanding you in custody back to the original court which issued the warrant, which is Omagh.

But Reid demanded, “Where is my legal representation? Who’s here to represent me? What kind of court is this?”

To this Judge Meehan warned, “Have a care sir. I have explained the situation as best I can. Please leave quietly with the custody staff.”

As Reid was being led back to the cells he said loudly. “This is a kangaroo court.”

He will appear at Omagh Magistrates Court on a date to be fixed.