Pensioner '˜unfit tostand trial' court told

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A defence lawyer for a Larne pensioner charged in connection with the theft of a fire engine which caused '£1.5million' damage to houses and vehicles claims his client is unfit to stand trial.

The development regarding Robert Duffin (67) originally of Green Link, but now with an address at a hostel in Larne, came at Ballymena Magistrate’s Court on Thursday where the defendant was accused of an unrelated matter.

It is alleged he behaved indecently at an alleyway at Larne’s Main Street on May 19 this year.

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At the magistrate’s court, defence barrister Stephen Law said his client was facing “serious matters” in the crown court.

He said there was an “ongoing determination” as to whether his client is fit to stand trial in the fire engine case.

“We have a report saying he is not,” added Mr Law.

The barrister said the crown court case is due to be mentioned again in September and in the mean time, the magistrate’s court matter was adjourned until later that month.

Duffin is accused of involvement when a trail of destruction was left in Larne on March 5 last year when a fire engine was taken from the town’s fire station.

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A co-accused, Ross Clarke (20), originally of Fairway in Larne, has already pleaded guilty to a catalogue of offences arising out of the fire engine’s trail of destruction.

At a previous hearing, Clarke’s barrister Neil Moore said the damage caused totalled “£1.5 million”.

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