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Belfast samurai sword accused has attempted murders charge dropped

By Alan Erwin

Published 04/10/2016

Police revealed they are not pursuing allegations that William John Paul tried to kill two men due to their refusal to provide statements.
Police revealed they are not pursuing allegations that William John Paul tried to kill two men due to their refusal to provide statements.

A man accused of wielding a samurai sword during violence in north Belfast is no longer to be charged with two attempted murders, a court heard today.

Police revealed they are not pursuing allegations that William John Paul tried to kill two men due to their refusal to provide statements.

However, the 32-year-old is still accused over an attempt to hijack a taxi using a pizza cutter and then threatening to kill a father and daughter following suspected clashes at Woodvale Drive in January.

Details emerged as he was granted bail if an approved address can be found well outside the city.

Paul, of Harmin Drive in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was arrested with a co-accused following outbursts of violence that culminated in a number of men being taken to hospital with serious injuries.

He had faced two counts each of attempted murder, attempted wounding and threats to kill, four counts of possessing an offensive weapon in public, and further offences of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted hijacking, two common assaults, criminal damage and theft.

But an investigating detective told Belfast Magistrates' Court: "The attempted murder charges will not be proceeded with because of the lack of injured party statements."

Opposing Paul's bid to be released from custody, the detective insisted he will still face prosecution for allegedly trying to seize a taxi and then attacking a house armed with weapons.

The court heard the cab driver fought off two men who produced a pizza slicer and tried to take his keys after picking them up on the Limestone Road on January 17.

Later the same day it was alleged that he was waving a samurai sword and trying to force his way into a house in the Woodvale area.

The detective claimed Paul's DNA has been found on the sword.

Defence counsel John O'Connor argued that his client was raising an issue of self-defence, having disarmed one of the men allegedly targeting him.

He stressed that Paul and his co-accused were both taken to hospital with significant injuries.

Mr O'Connor added: "At first blush it's an horrendous case of attempted murder, but we now know it's not attempted murder."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall decided to grant bail based on a previous ruling in favour of the co-accused.

Ordering Paul to stay at an address approved by police outside Belfast, she stressed: "I don't mean just beyond the city."

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