‘One of the most prolific offenders in Cookstown’ detained over Christmas

Court
Court

A 28-year-old Cookstown man who was described by a police officer in court as “one of the most prolific offenders in Cookstown” has been remanded in custody to appear before Crown Court on January 13 on alleged charges of “going equipped for theft”.

Rodney Barnes, from Greenvale Drive in the town, appeared in the dock at Dungannon Magistrates last Wednesday [Nov 26] flanked by two court security officers, to hear the charges against him.

Barnes was accused of having torches, gloves, a battery, pump, piping and barrels with him away from his place of residence for use in the course of a theft of burglary.

And while the prosecution argued that he had a prima facie case to answer, Barnes’ defence pleaded with the court to allow bail for his client until his trial date.

When asked under oath what the PSNI’s attitude would be towards Barnes being released on bail, PC McCormack explained how the PSNI thought “that he would reoffend again” if released.

“Mr Barnes is one of the most prolific offenders in Cookstown,” PC McCormack told the court, before adding that he would reoffend coming up to Christmas.

“I believe he would be involved in burglaries and thefts in the Cookstown area.”

Following this statement Judge Meehan asked defence counsel why lawyers for the prosecution had not been informed of their intention to seek bail before Barnes and his defence team appeared in court.

Accepting that they had failed to do so, defence counsel tried to explain the omission by saying that a bail application is something which should be expected from a preliminary enquiry, to which Judge Meehan replied “I see no merit in that”.

After much confusion over the address to which Barnes could be bailed, and police stating that they had not been able to investigate its suitability, District Judge John Meehan went on to rule that Barnes could apply to the High Court for bail, and a date was set for his trial.