Enniskillen blackmail accused surrenders to police

A CASE of blackmail which has been repeatedly listed for committal to crown court for trial which stalled again earlier this month after one accused failed to appear has been rescheduled, after she surrendered herself to police.
However, the defendant clearly did not anticipate being refused bail and on hearing this cried out loudly before she was ordered to be removed to the cells.
Christopher Murray (28) from Ashfield Gardens, Fintona and Samantha Morrison (20) from Darling Street, Enniskillen are jointly accused of 11 counts of blackmail by demanding various sums of money with menaces, ranging from £100 to £2,000.
Murray is further accused of making a similar demand for £2600 on May 10 2020.
The third accused, Sophie Stephens (21) from Donegall Avenue, Belfast faces a single count of making an unwarranted demand for £100 between April 1 and 30 2020.
According to court papers, the trio are accused of targeting the alleged victim on several dates between February and May 2020.
Despite Murray and Stephens appearing before Enniskillen Magistrates Court for a committal hearing to transfer to trial since May, Morrison has consistently failed to attend.
Yesterday (Tuesday) Morrison appeared in the dock of Omagh Magistrates after surrendering herself to police, who executed the arrest warrant.
While a defence barrister explained police were “very concerned” for Morrison’s whereabouts when she repeatedly refused to attend court, initially treating her as a missing person and the court had allowed some time to pass.
“It would appear so,” said District Judge Bernie Kelly who noted proceedings have been live since May.
The defence added after yet another non-appearance a judge decided to issue the arrest warrant “To focus minds”
Judge Kelly replied, “I understand that logic. Solely for the purpose of getting the defendant before Enniskillen Magistrates Court to have the committal conducted, I am not granting bail. ”
However, the defence argued police had a “relaxed” attitude to bail, but Judge Kelly said, “These courts cannot take forever. If people don’t turn up in matters where we cannot proceed without them action must be taken. The court granted the defendant several opportunities to appear voluntarily, and she took none of those up. I would suggest the warrant was issued in exasperation, because it was the only way to get her there.
This is the only way I can guarantee she’s before the court.”
Morrison cried out from the dock and pleaded to be released but Judge Kelly told custody staff to remove her to the cells.
The committal hearing will now take place on 16 September, at which Morrison will appear by video-link while her co-accused will be in person.

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