Taxi driver accused of having imitation firearm with intent to cause fear has bail altered to allow him to pick up fares at hotel

A TAXI driver accused of having an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear has had bail conditions altered to enable him to pick up fares at a Portballintrae hotel.

Keith Grimsey (63), of Church Street, Bushmills, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday.

He is accused of the common assault of a woman on December 27 last year and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the same date.

A detective said there had been an alleged incident at Grimsey’s home when the defendant produced what is believed to have been an imitation firearm.

Grimsey allegedly threatened a woman after they had been drinking and “put her out of the house,” the officer told the court.

During interview, the defendant admitted “waving” the imitation firearm – described in court as a ‘Desert Eagle’ airsoft – at the woman but denied assaulting the complainant, it was claimed.

The defendant’s bail conditions had included a complete ban on entering Portballintrae.

A defence lawyer said the defendant picked up many fares at the hotel and the ban on being allowed to go to the village was “disproportionate”.

The detective pointed out that the complainant lived a short distance away from the hotel where Grimsey wanted to be able to pick up fares.

But Grimsey’s lawyer said the fares were being lost to the defendant because of a ban on entering Portballintrae.

He added that Grimsey was willing to comply with any conditions which would enable him to travel to and from the hotel.

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare varied Grimsey’s bail conditions to enable him to enter and leave Portballintrae by the Bayhead Road to allow him to pick up and drop off passengers.

Grimsey is still prohibited from travelling on the Ballaghmore Road, the other route into Portballintrae.

The judge said if taxi customers were going to have to be taken on a “circuitous route” the defendant should make that clear to them.

The case was adjourned until February 6.

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