Derry Judge criticises failure to provide secure beds for young people

Derry Magistrates Court
Derry Magistrates Court

A District Judge in Derry has said that the judiciary has been telling the health trusts 'for ages' that they were not building a big enough facility to provide secure beds for young people but had not been listened to.

The comments by District judge Barney McElholm came during a bail application by a youth charged with attempted rape and sexual assault of a girl in the Creggan area of Derry on March 18.

The youth is also charged with the false imprisonment of the girl, threatening to kill her and assaulting her all on the same date.

During the bail application a solicitor for the youth, Ms Elaine Kirk, said her client would stay with a relative and abide by any conditions imposed by the court.

Judge McElholm asked how far was it between this address and where the girl went to school and was told that it was about half a mile. He said he was concerned about the girl meeting the youth, adding she has every right to expect that the court would protect her from any potential risk.

Judge McElholm said he did not want the youth to spend any longer in custody than he had to but that something else would have to be found.

He said the trusts had been told they were not building big enough facilities to provide secure accommodation but had not listened. The trusts should be doing everything in their power to obtain secure accommodation he said, adding "it is quite disgraceful there are never enough secure beds."

He adjourned the bail application to see if an alternative acceptable address could be found.

The youth will appear again on April 24.