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Cyclist in bulletproof vest 'tried to knife woman's car tyre', court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 17/12/2015

The cyclist had shed his clothes during the incident, revealing a bulletproof vest
The cyclist had shed his clothes during the incident, revealing a bulletproof vest

A cyclist wearing a bulletproof vest allegedly tried to attack a motorist's tyre during a city centre confrontation, the High Court heard today.

Gary Byrne had shed other clothes and was standing in front of cars stopping the flow of traffic in Lisburn, prosecutors said.

The 29-year-old denies charges of disorderly behaviour, assault on police and possession of a bladed or pointed article in public over the incident on December 8.

During a bail application a judge was told police received a 999 call from a female motorist alleging Byrne, of Hawtree Park in Lisburn, was trying to stick a knife in her car tyre.

Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said officers went to the scene at Antrim Street and discovered the defendant wearing the bulletproof vest.

"He removed clothing from his upper body, threw it on the ground and was acting aggressively to the occupants of the car," the barrister claimed.

No knife was found on him and the vehicle was undamaged.

But a police search of the accused uncovered a hard plastic, triangular-shaped shank object with pointed edges, the court heard.

Mr Maguire said the incident was linked to an earlier incident when Byrne allegedly cycled through red lights and cut in front of cars.

He added: "The applicant was aggressive and it's the police view he was wearing this bullet-proof vest for protection. That of itself gives rise to some concern."

According to defence counsel Michael Boyd the case had "slightly strange, slightly bizarre features".

He said: "Mr Byrne felt he had been cut off by this vehicle coming close to him and it appears he behaved in an inappropriate way, albeit not an illegal way."

The court was told the accused's unpredictable behaviour stems from mental health problems.

Granting bail, His Honour Judge Lynch said he was going to give Byrne a chance to prove himself.

Imposing a ban on drugs and a curfew, the judge added: "This occurred at 8.20pm, maybe he shouldn't be out cycling at 8.20pm."

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