Northern Ireland

Drug accused refused bail for own safety

A 22-year-old Belfast man accused of dealing drugs to children as young as ten has been refused bail for his own safety, Belfast High Court has heard.

Kevin Davidson faces charges of having cannabis with intent to supply.

The judge told the court he was concerned that the release of Mr Davidson would risk exposing him to "inhuman or degrading treatment."

Bail was refused after the prosecution raised concerns over whether he would be safe at his home adress.

Prosecution lawyer Fiona O'Kane told the court police had been tipped off prior to Mr Davidson's arrest on 4 April.

"Police had received information that this applicant the previous night had been supplying drugs to young boys, including 10 and 14-year-olds.

"Masked men purporting to be from a particular republican organisation entered the premises on 13 April demanding to know where this applicant was and claiming men were wanting to shoot him," Ms O'Kane said.

Mr Davidson denies the drugs charges but is also alleged to have resisted arrest.

Defence barrister, Declan Quinn, said that his client was a long-term cannabis addict diagnosed with a personality disorder.

He told the court his client had been "used" by others.

"He would say he was a mule or courier and the persons using him would have been fully aware of his difficulties," Mr Quinn said.

Ms O'Kane told the court that digital scales, a list of names and a 30g bag of suspected herbal cannabis being found on the accused during searches.

Four smaller bags and just over £260 in cash were also recovered.

The judge said that the influence of illegal drugs is a "dreadful scourge" that carried enormous risks.

"The consequences can be utterly devastating and there are countless potentially young victims prepared to experiment in drug taking," said Mr Justice McCloskey.