Harassment accused returned for trial

A 58-year-old man has been returned for trial on a charge of breaching a Restraining Order.

Appearing for a committal hearing was William Thomas Birney whose address was given as no fixed abode, Enniskillen but remanded in custody since arrest who is accused of committing the offence on April 12 2023.

A lawyer told Enniskillen Magistrates Court there is a case to answer which was agreed by District Judge Alana McSorley.


Birney spoke only to confirm his identity and that he understood the charge. He declined to call witnesses or give evidence on his own behalf at this stage. District Judge Alana McSorley remanded Birney in continuing custody to appear for arraignment at Dungannon Crown Court on March 20.

Several weeks ago defence lawyers launched an unsuccessful bail application explaining Birney has served a nine month sentence on remand before the case has even been transferred.

While accepting the defendant’s record has many entries for the same offending which is why it is being sent to crown court, it was stressed the female in the case has not made a complaint.

The judge on that occasion remarked, “He seems to be continually breaching orders imposed by the court going back over 10 years and a criminal record going back over 35 years.”

This was conceded by the defence who pointed out the latest matter was allegedly committed while Birney was on bail for the same type of offending. A police officer told the court the couple, “Have been in a relationship for quite some time and are well known to police. There appear to be issues on both sides.”

Following consideration, the judge refused bail stating, “I couldn’t be satisfied the defendant has reached the point of serving more time than he may receive at crown court given the history. But my main concern is reoffending and he wouldn’t abide by any order the court imposes. As I see it, he would simply go out and contact this woman.”

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