Northern Ireland

Judge slams waste of public money for bail applications

A High Court judge has hit out at the waste of public money after being told that an accused man has applied for compassionate bail on a dozen occasions to visit his terminally-ill father.

Mr Justice Gillen was hearing the latest application by Aaron Curran, 35, from Barnfield Grange, Derriaghy, County Antrim, who is facing a charge of robbery.

The judge said police and court time were also being taken up.

Bail was refused.

Mr Justice Gillen said the court had sympathy for the family but added: "You can't have a situation where public funding as well as police and court time are being taken up by applications like this.

"I don't know how on earth this has been happening. This can't go on."

Mr Justice Gillen said he had previously expressed concern at the frequency of Mr Curran's applications and asked: "Was the legal aid department told of my concerns?"

A defence barrister confirmed the department had been informed and added: "They are happy to continue to fund the applications."

"It's a revolving-door type situation," remarked a prosecution lawyer.

The judge refused bail and after it had been confirmed that a police officer was in court he said: "I express again my concern at the frequency of the applications and the taking-up of police time and the court's time."