Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Judge says ice-hockey player can go to Latvia

An ice-hockey player accused of trying to attack a drug dealer has been granted permission to travel to Latvia for a family wedding.

Sergejs Selenkous, who is set for a trial with the Belfast Giants team, is charged with aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

Crown barrister Kate McKay told the Northern Ireland High Court it was alleged that the victim had sold drugs to the 23-year-old and a co-accused.

The pair were not happy with the quality of the goods and returned to the dealer's home at an undisclosed location in May to seek a refund, it was claimed.

Mrs McKay said: “Effectively the door was closed in their faces. They entered the house and allegedly assaulted the supplier.”

Selenkous, of Whitecherry Lane, Killinchy, Co Down, is on bail but returned to court seeking a variation to allow him to attend his sister's wedding later this month. Mrs McKay acknowledged he has abided by all release conditions, but said he had “somewhat presumptively” already booked return flights from Dublin to Riga, to get them cheap.

Selenkous' counsel, who stressed his client would be claiming self-defence in the case against him, produced a wedding invitation as proof of the legitimacy of the planned 12-day trip.

The barrister also argued that his client's job and budding ice-hockey career were reasons why his return would be guaranteed.

The court was told Selenkous, who moved to Northern Ireland in January, plays for the Latvian Hawks team. “He is anticipating a trial with the Belfast Giants in the next month,” his lawyer added.

Granting the variation, Mr Justice Deeny ruled there was enough evidence that the reasons given for the trip were genuine.

The judge suspended an alcohol ban due to the difficulties policing it while the accused is out of the country.

However, Mr Justice Deeny stressed: “He should be sensible in conduct in his own country.”

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