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Bloodied man allegedly carrying shovel and knife on Belfast street was fleeing beating, court told

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Belfast High Court

Belfast High Court

Belfast High Court

A shovel and knife allegedly carried on a Belfast street by a blood-covered man had been thrown at him as he fled from a beating, the High Court heard today.

Lee Whelan claimed he was subjected to the attack before his arrest in north Belfast last week.

The 24-year-old, of Duncairn Parade in the city, was granted bail on two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in public.

Crown lawyer Fiona O'Kane said a concerned member of the public contacted police on March 11 about a man covered in blood carrying a large shovel on the Cliftonville Road.

Whelan was located and stopped in the area, with blood over his face and shirt.

The court heard he set down the shovel when detained, and searches also led to the recovery of a knife.

He claimed that he had been assaulted and chased, picking up the "weapons" after they were hurled at him but denying any intention to use them.

Defence counsel Joe Brolly said his client suffered a serious beating.

"He was very disorientated, covered in blood and taken to hospital immediately," Mr Brolly added.

Describing the accused as a vulnerable adult, the barrister disclosed that he suffered a brain injury following a road accident in 2012.

It was also claimed that if Whelan was denied bail he could spend a lengthy and uncertain period in custody due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"In these extraordinary times cases are just going to be racked and stacked," Mr Brolly submitted.

"One doesn't know when they are going to be dealt with."

Mr Justice Scoffield ruled that the accused can be released under conditions including a curfew and electronic tagging.

Belfast Telegraph