Judge’s fury at Dungannon legal aid defendant’s Mexican holiday

Omagh courthouse
Omagh courthouse

A JUDGE has threatened to interfere with a Dungannon man’s legal aid entitlement after it was revealed in court that he had been planning a ten day holiday in Mexico while in receipt of the benefit.

Barry Fox (34) of Agharan Road, Dungannon appeared in the dock of Omagh Magistrates Court last Tuesday attempting to amend his bail conditions in order to travel to Cancun.

Fox was granted bail after he was charged in connection with a violent incident in Omagh on December 8 2013.

The 34-year-old faces six charges including causing grievous bodily harm with intent, assaulting police, resisting police, criminal damage and disorderly behaviour.

The disorderly behaviour is alleged to have occurred in Church Hill, Omagh, while the criminal damage relates to a pair of handcuffs.

Defending solicitor Padhraic Cunningham told District Judge Kelly that his client was previously given permission by police to travel to Spain for a three day holiday.

He said Fox was later refused permission to embark on a second holiday.

But questioning how Fox could afford to holiday in Mexico, while qualifying for free legal aid, Judge Kelly said, “I can understand why people have issues with the entire system. It makes me cross.”

The judge indicated that she may interfere with the defendant’s legal aid entitlement. Mr Cunningham suggested that it was his client’s father who wanted to send him on holiday. Refusing the application, Judge Kelly said she wanted Fox’s passport lodged with police before releasing him. She said she did not trust the 34-year-old.

Fox was subsequently released on bail of £400 and ordered not to contact the injured parties, not to enter Omagh or any licensed premises and abide by an 8pm to 7am curfew.