Appearing at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court by videolink from police custody, 52-year-old Michael Teelin confirmed he understood the single charge against him that he was unlawfully at large from August 7 2000.
A police officer outlined how Teelin, with an address at Claremont Court in Blackpool, had been handed a four-year sentence in 1999 for causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving arising from a hit-and-run road traffic collision in Crossmaglen where a child was injured.
He had been granted a two-day temporary release over his birthday in August 2000 but he failed to surrender himself back into custody.
He was not found again until the PSNI received an alert that he was in Preston prison.
Teelin was brought back to Northern Ireland and questioned and although he claimed the PSNI had the wrong man, that his name was actually Felix and that it was his deceased brother Michael they were looking for, the officer said fingerprints taken from the defendant matched the defendant who went on the run 23 years ago.
“He couldn’t provide any explanation why his fingerprints are the same,” she told the court adding that police were objecting to bail as Teelin has connections to the Republic so he posed a flight risk.
Defence counsel Thomas McKeever told the court Teelin wants to get a copies of his birth certificate and his brother’s death certificate which he claims will present “exculpatory evidence.”
He conceded that obtaining a bail address in Northern Ireland “is a hurdle which we cannot overcome” and although District Judge Peter King granted bail, he ordered that Teelin will not be released until he has a suitable bail address and has lodged a £5,000 cash surety.
The case was adjourned to 16 October.