Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Teenagers organising sectarian brawls, court told

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Teenagers are organising sectarian fights in a Co Londonderry town centre, a court heard today.

 

Police expressed fears that the trouble near Coleraine train station could result in someone being seriously injured or worse.

In one alleged incident captured on CCTV an assault victim fell onto the railway line after being repeatedly punched and kicked.

Details emerged as an 18-year-old man appeared before Coleraine Magistrates' Court sitting in Belfast charged over two separate incidents.

Jonathan Neill, of Westbourne Crescent in the town, faces two counts each of disorderly behaviour and fighting and making an affray.

The alleged offences were committed at Bridge Street and Railway Street on June 1 and 13.

Opposing bail, a PSNI officer told the court the case was part of an investigation into the trouble.

"A number of young males aged approximately 18 are organising sectarian fights," he said.

"It was a problem two years ago and has now raised its ugly head again."

He claimed the June 13 incident involved Neill punching and kicking another youth up to eight times.

The alleged victim then fell onto the railway line.

A defence lawyer stressed that the accused has not been charged with assault.

He also challenged the decision to bring affray charges.

The court heard police searches for other suspects identified on the CCTV footage are ongoing.

District Judge Bernadette Kelly raised the possibility of Neill making contacting with them before they are detained.

On that basis she adjourned the bail application until Monday.

Neill was remanded in custody to appear in court again by video-link.

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