A TEENAGER accused of possessing a bottle of suspected ammonia as an offensive weapon with intent to commit grievous bodily harm in connection with a raid at a jewellery shop in Ballymena town centre has admitted breaching bail in an incident in which he “fell out a window” and an ambulance had to be called.
In relation to a June incident at Robin Adair Jewellers, Curtis Dunlop (18), with an address listed as Pinegrove Park in the town, is also charged with stealing a Rotary watch valued at £239.
The defendant was at court in Ballymena via videolink this week and admitted breaching bail.
An earlier court hearing heard it alleged two men targeted Robin Adair Jewellers in June this year and that Dunlop was allegedly carrying a bottle of what was suspected to be ammonia and asked to try on a watch.
He then ran out of the shop with the watch but was apprehended by a member of the public, according to police.
Footage had also emerged on social media of a second raider apparently running from the shop carrying a tray.
Opposing Dunlop’s application for bail at an earlier hearing, a PSNI constable expressed concern about the suspected ammonia.
She confirmed, however, that the liquid was never brandished inside the jewellers.
Also at the earlier court, a defence solicitor insisted the bottle had been placed on the ground with no attempt to threaten staff.
The solicitor had said: “He says he was placed under duress by an older individual… and was given the glass jar containing ammonia shortly before they went into the shop.”
At the court in the summer District Judge Mark Hamill described the alleged possession of ammonia as “deeply concerning”.
But granting bail to Dunlop, Mr Hamill had ordered: “He’s barred from the town centre of Ballymena.”
The defendant appeared at the Magistrates Court in Ballymena this week via a video link from Antrim Police Station.
A defence barrister said the breach of bail in relation to an alcohol requirement was accepted.
A police officer said police were opposed to the defendant being re-admitted to bail as the defendant had a “propensity” for breaching bail.
He said police had been called to the defendant’s address due to a “concern for safety” on Sunday.
The defence lawyer applied for bail and said the defendant resided with his mother and on Sunday night he was at home with his girlfriend and “stupidly took some alcohol”.
The lawyer said the defendant “fell out a window” and an ambulance was called.
The barrister said the defendant had “absolutely huge personal difficulties over the last year”.
The lawyer said the defendant was doing work with the Youth Justice Agency and the Agency had asked for bail to be amended to allow him to go into Ballymena for appointments with them.
District Judge Peter King noted the defendant had his hand bandaged.
The judge asked him if he could “stay sober” and “avoid annoying your mother” until the next court appearance, this Thursday. The defendant said he could.
The judge re-admitted the defendant to bail which he amended to allow him to attend Youth Justice Agency appointments in Ballymena.
Judge King said: “I’m taking a risk with that. If there is any sense that you are abusing being let into Ballymena I will have no hesitation remanding you in custody. These are serious charges”.