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Belfast hatchet attack ordered by paramilitaries, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 25/02/2016

Paramilitaries sanctioned a hatchet attack on a man in north Belfast, the High Court heard today
Paramilitaries sanctioned a hatchet attack on a man in north Belfast, the High Court heard today

Paramilitaries sanctioned a hatchet attack on a man in north Belfast, the High Court heard today.

The victim needed up to 27 stitches and staples for head wounds inflicted during the assault in the Tigers Bay area of the city, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as one of four men accused of involvement in the violence was granted bail.

David Nixon, 26, of Blenheim Drive in Newtownards, Co Down, denies charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and possession of an offensive weapon, namely a baseball bat.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, claimed he had been identified at the scene by the victim.

She said the injured man had been walking through Tigers Bay after watching a band parade last June when four people pulled up in a car beside him.

He ran towards an alleyway but came face to face with a man holding a baseball bat, the court heard.

"It seems to have been an attack on this man sanctioned by a paramilitary organisation and these four men were engaged in it," Mrs McKay alleged.

"He was taken to hospital having been attacked, his injuries were four large wounds to the back of his head believed to be caused by a hatchet."

The man also sustained a fractured knee and severe bruising.

Nixon denies any involvement or being at the scene of the assault.

He was returned to custody after breaching previous bail conditions by attending the site of an ongoing Orange Order marching protest at Twaddell Avenue in the city.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey linked Nixon's previous non-compliance with a low IQ and mental health issues.

The barrister also argued that the man accused of wielding the hatchet has been granted bail.

"There's no suggestion Mr Nixon was armed with the hatchet at any stage," Mr McConkey added.

"The allegations against him are going to be contested."

Granting renewed bail to Nixon, His Honour Judge Lynch ordered him to live at an approved address under curfew.

He was also banned from contacting the alleged victim, his co-accused and any witnesses

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