Hammer and hurling stick fight on west Belfast street could be rival barbers dispute, court hears
A hammer and hurling stick fight on the streets of west Belfast may be linked to a dispute between rival barbers, a court heard on Wednesday.
The potential motive emerged as two Turkish brothers appeared in the dock accused of being armed and inflicting serious injuries in the clashes.
Three men were taken to hospital following the violent confrontation on the Andersonstown Road on Monday evening.
Mehmet Oner, 42, of Mount Eagles Square in Dunmurry, and 38-year-old Abdurrahman Oner, from West Pilton Grove in Edinburgh, are jointly charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The pair also face counts of having offensive weapons, namely a baseball bat and hurling stick, possession of a prohibited pepper spray, and affray.
They are accused of attacking two other men during disturbances close to a Turkish barber shop linked to one alleged victim.
At Belfast Magistrates' Court Mehmet Oner, who runs another haircutting business in the city, appeared in the dock with heavy bandaging around his head.
His younger brother had his arm in a cast for a broken wrist, the judge was told.
Abdurrahman Oner did not seek bail at this stage and was remanded in custody until next week.
Opposing Mehmet Oner's bid to be released from prison, an investigating detective said the violence broke out with total disregard for anyone else in the area.
She claimed two men had arrived in a car armed with the bat and stick and launched the attack.
One alleged victim was targeted in the eyes with pepper spray, and then beaten as he lay on the ground, the court was told.
He suffered puncture wounds to the torso after being stabbed by one of the broken weapons, according to the detective.
The second man sustained head injuries requiring 23 staples and stitches.
Both were said to have identified the two accused.
Asked for a possible motive, the policewoman could give no definitive reasons.
But she referred to an incident earlier that day and claims that rumours had been spread about one of those allegedly involved.
"The injured party would say it was jealousy as his (business) is doing better than their own shop," the detective added.
Defence solicitor Ciaran Toner claimed the two alleged victims arrived at the confrontation brandishing a hammer, screw driver and possibly a baseball bat.
Mr Toner also told the court Mehmet Oner is a central prosecution witness in another high-profile case.
The lawyer revealed that his client's barber shop has also been attacked amid false suggestions about his role in those proceedings.
He also stressed the injuries inflicted on the two brothers - one requiring stitches in head wounds and the other allegedly having his arm broken by a heavy instrument.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall commented: "Clearly there was a decision to go prepared for a fight, to have it out, and that is a very concerning sequence of events."
But granting bail to Mehmet Oner, she banned him from the Andersonstown Road area or making contact with the alleged victims.
He must also abide by a curfew, electronic tagging and return to court next month.
Belfast Telegraph Digital