Accused's address gag bid fails

A man accused of intimidating a witness with intent to pervert the course of justice unsuccessfully asked a district judge not to allow the press to publish his address.

A solicitor for George McGowan, 25, said the defendant had received a threat from a paramilitary organisation.

District Judge Barney McElholme said as the defendant's address had already been read out in a public court he was too late in making his request not to have it published.

Mr McGowan, from Duddy's Court, was released on police bail last month on seven motoring offences, one of them a hit and run accident which he alleged to have committed at Victoria Court on 19 June.

As part of his bail conditions he was ordered not to approach a woman driver who had made a police statement against him.

However the defendant appeared in court charged with approaching the woman last Wednesday and asking her to withdraw her complaint against him.

A police sergeant told the district judge that the woman was now concerned for her safety.

Defence solicitor Paddy McGurk said the approach was a clumsy attempt by his client to avoid prosecution.

The defendant was released on his own bail of £1000 to appear in court again on 9 August. He is also to be electronically tagged.