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Man in a coma after being 'kicked and stamped on his head' by friend during night out, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 29/08/2016

Some sort of disturbance started in the apartment and then spilled out into a communal car park covered by CCTV, the court heard.
Some sort of disturbance started in the apartment and then spilled out into a communal car park covered by CCTV, the court heard.

A man is in a coma after his friend allegedly kicked and stamped on his head during a night out together, a court heard today.

He was taken to hospital by an off-duty nurse who spotted him wandering in a daze in east Belfast early last Friday, police said.

Details emerged as 32-year-old Steven McBrine appeared before the city's Magistrates' Court charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

McBrine, of Fraser Pass in Belfast, claims he acted in self-defence after the alleged victim threw the first punch.

But he was refused bail due to the potential risk of re-offending. He is accused of attacking the other man, aged in his twenties, at McBrine's flat after they returned from socialising in the city centre.

Some sort of disturbance started in the apartment and then spilled out into a communal car park covered by CCTV, the court heard.

A detective said footage showed the other man striking first, before being forced to the ground.

McBrine allegedly stood over him delivering punches to the head and upper body "from a position of superiority".

"He then stamps on his head and follows that up with a kick to the head," the detective claimed.

The court was told the other man tried to get to his feet, only to be knocked back down by a further kick to the head.

Minutes later, according to police, he was discovered walking and dazed on the Lower Newtownards Road.

He was said to have lost consciousness after being driven to hospital, where he remains in a coma.

During police interviews McBrine, who appeared in the dock with a black eye, claimed the other man started the fight.

"He stated that he kicked and stamped on him, but said they were in the chest area," the detective said.

"He said he was doing this because he was fearful of being stabbed. However, we have no evidence any knife or weapons were present."

A defence solicitor insisted the alleged victim threw the first punch in what was described as "a fair fight".

Stressing her client's case of acting in self-defence, she added: "It may well be if this man recovers, and we hope he does, that he doesn't wish to make a statement of complaint."

But remanding McBrine in custody to appear again in four weeks time, District Judge George Conner said: "I cannot under any circumstances consider bail in this case."

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