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Tears in Sydney court as punch accused gets bail to visit brother

By Nevin Farrell and Rebecca Black

A man from Northern Ireland wept in the dock of an Australian court as he was granted bail to be at the bedside of the younger brother he allegedly left fighting for his life.

Patrick Lyttle (31), from Ballycastle in Co Antrim, suffered serious injuries after he was allegedly felled by his brother Barry with a single punch during an argument.

It is believed Patrick struck his head on the pavement when he went down outside a Sydney nightclub on Saturday.

Shocking pictures from Australia showed the moment Patrick was carried away on a stretcher as Barry (33) dropped to his knees in tears.

This morning, Barry Lyttle was granted bail at Sydney's Central Local Court after the quantity surveyor was earlier charged with the assault. As he wiped away tears with his head down, an unshaven Barry Lyttle was told by a magistrate that he must not approach his injured sibling within 12 hours of consuming alcohol.

He was ordered to surrender his passport and stay with an Australian aunt at her address.

Magistrate Les Mabbutt made a $2000 (£1,055) cash surety order and told Lyttle he must report to Blacktown Police Station daily. Last night, Patrick remained in a critical but stable condition following emergency surgery. His father Oliver (74) - who attended the bail hearing - has maintained a vigil at his bedside.

A court prosecutor did not oppose bail, but asked that Lyttle be banned from drinking alcohol before visiting his brother at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

Lyttle's solicitor said his client "is hoping to spend time at St Vincent's with his brother and father".

Moyle Council chairperson Donal Cunningham said prayers were said at Mass for the family yesterday in Ballycastle's St Patrick's and St Brigid's Church.

"The thoughts of the community are with the family. Everybody in the town is shocked," he said.

At Patrick Lyttle's home in Ballycastle's Whitehall Heights yesterday, neighbour Margaret McNicholl (36) said: "It was shocking to hear what happened, unbelievable.

"We are hoping and praying that Patrick gets better. He lived with his dad Oliver until he went to Australia in June. Patrick is a quiet, laid-back, happy-go-lucky fella and never raised a word."

She said she was thinking of the plight being faced by dad Oliver, a former Guinness brewery worker who was also a bus driver.

Ballycastle councillor Cara McShane said: "I saw Barry on St Stephen's night and he was excited about going out to Australia, so hearing this has been devastating." It is understood that the brothers' mother died several years ago and they have four older sisters who are still living in Northern Ireland. The family, originally from Belfast, moved to Ballycastle when the brothers were of school age.

Patrick Lyttle had been in Australia backpacking since last June. Brother Barry and father Oliver travelled there to visit him recently. The men had been out in Sydney for dinner. Oliver had gone back to the hotel while his sons continued the night out. Australian police have said that CCTV footage captured the siblings arguing outside Hugo's Lounge in the popular nightspot of Kings Cross at around 3am on Saturday, and that Patrick had pushed Barry who then reacted.

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