Northern Ireland news

Strict bail for man accused of assaulting principal in primary school incident

A CO Tyrone man has appeared in court on charges relating to an incident in a primary school where the principal was allegedly assaulted.

Paddy Ward (31) from Torrent Valley, Coalisland is also accused of using disorderly behaviour at Primate Dixon Primary School on September 24 and damaging a door.

A police officer told Dungannon Magistrates Court the charges could be connected.

An issue arose over bail conditions when District Judge Mark McGarrity ordered Ward not to enter the school or contact the principal.

However his solicitor said an invitation had been received from the school for a meeting in an attempt to resolve the issues.

He told the school is attended by Ward's child, who he had been dropping off each morning by driving his car right up to the doors

On the day in question, staff requested he cease this practice, leading to an argument.

It is alleged Ward attacked the principal when he attempted to intervene and police were called.

Following arrest, Ward was charged and released on bail to attend court.

However, in the meantime the school has offered a meeting to discuss the incident and the child’s future education, which Ward has instructed his solicitor to accept.

This meant some of the bail terms would be problematic, so the defence suggested contact with the principal and entering the school, could be allowed strictly by invitation and appropriately accompanied.

District Judge Mark McGarrity took this on board, but a prosecution lawyer warned the principal is the alleged victim, therefore contact was an issue during a live case.

As such the judge agreed to adjust the conditions, but stipulated, “Any invitation must be in writing. Noting else will satisfy the court.”

Bail was set at £300 with Judge McGarrity emphasising to Ward the importance of adherence to conditions.

The matter will return next week.

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