Defence lawyer expresses concern as County Down pensioner (84) remains in jail on remand

Defence lawyer expresses concern as County Down pensioner (84) remains in jail on remand

A DEFENCE lawyer has expressed concern about the pace of a court case involving a pensioner accused of 'arson endangering life with intent' by allegedly putting 'material' into a microwave on the day after her 84th birthday.

Joyce Harriett Evans, with an address listed as Dufferin Square, Bangor, is charged with damaging, by fire, property at her home belonging to Choice Housing on October 10 last year 'intending to damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be damaged and intending thereby to endanger the lives of those in the premises'.

Meanwhile, in February last year she is alleged to have made improper use of a public electronic communications network.

She is also charged with incidents on March 29 last year - assaulting two females; indecent behaviour at the Ulster Hospital and causing criminal damage to a floor at the hospital and to a PSNI car.

A defence lawyer was concerned about the slow pace in the case due to the defendant being in custody at her age "for some considerable time".

The lawyer said the defendant had been granted bail but it was not perfected because a Health Trust was "unable to find suitable accommodation for her to meet her complex needs".

He added: "I can't express enough importance at this matter being dealt with quickly and properly".

A prosecutor suggested adjourning the case for a further four weeks but the defence lawyer asked for it to come back on April 20 "to try and keep the pressure on the Prosecution to move this quickly".

At Newtownards Magistrates Court, District Judge Mark Hamill said: "This is an 84-year-old woman in custody and it speaks for itself in terms of urgency".

The case was put back to April 20.