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Man accused of trying to kill Carrick pub doorman cut off electronic tag in 'moment of madness', High Court hears

By Alan Erwin

A man on bail accused of trying to kill a pub doorman in a suspected loyalist paramilitary feud attack cut off his electronic tag in a "moment of madness", the High Court heard on Tuesday.

Brian Sinclair severed the monitoring device amid frustration at being unable to visit his sick father due to a ban entering Carrickfergus, a judge was told.

Sinclair, 50, is one of three men charged with the attempted murder of a bouncer allegedly beaten with a fire extinguisher at the Royal Oak bar in the Co Antrim town on March 11.

The victim sustained facial and skull fractures, a blood clot to the brain and requires surgery to his eye socket.

Sinclair, of O'Rorkes Row in Carrickfergus, was returned to custody after breaching his release conditions on May 25.

Granting him bail once more today, Madam Justice McBride warned against any further infringements.

He is accused of carrying out the attack with two associates after they were refused entry to the bar.

CCTV footage allegedly shows him punching the victim and forcing him to the ground.

Prosecutors claim one of the other defendants then lifted a fire extinguisher and repeatedly hit the bouncer as he lay in the hallway.

The third man also allegedly picked up the extinguisher and threw it at the victim's head.

Police have linked the incident to ongoing tensions between rival factions in Carrickfergus.

High-profile loyalist George Gimore, 44, was murdered two days after the alleged pub attack.

He was gunned down after attending Laganside Courts in Belfast for the first appearance by Sinclair and his co-accused.

Crown lawyer David McClean confirmed today that the Royal Oaks incident is believed to be part of a conflict involving the UDA's South East Antrim brigade.

Sinclair now faces a further charge of criminal damage to the electronic tag.

"He said he cut it off with a knife in a moment of madness... he tried to tape it back on again and went to sleep, " Mr McClean told the court.

Sinclair was said to have worked on major engineering projects in Italy and Qatar before returning to Northern Ireland due to his parents ill-health.

Referring to the prohibition on entering Carrickfergus, defence counsel Michael Boyd contended: "There was a build up of pressure and frustration.

"His father is house-bound and he wasn't able to see him."

Mr Boyd also argued that Sinclair is not part of any criminal network in the town.

"This altercation got out of hand, he didn't not encourage or assist in the use of the fire extinguisher which is the central, horrifying feature in the case," the barrister added.

Readmitting Sinclair to bail, the judge told him: "If there are any breaches you're likely to find yourself back where you are."

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