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Derry judge rails at daily violence as accused in assault case is denied bail

Warning: Barney McElholm
Warning: Barney McElholm

By George Jackson

The District Judge at the Magistrates Court in Londonderry said yesterday that the daily level of violence shows society "is broken and it needs to be fixed".

Barney McElholm was commenting as a 32-year-old man appeared in custody charged with injuring a man and a woman, both related to him, after a family First Communion on May 26.

A police officer told the court the male relative was injured when the defendant reversed his van over him, spun the wheels on his legs and revved the engine.

She said the incidents took place in the early hours of the morning outside the home of the defendant's aunt in Drumleck Gardens in the Creggan area of Derry and that the male victim was still in Altnagelvin Hospital after several surgical procedures.

"He is also working with a hospital psychologist because he has frequent flashbacks," the police witness said.

James Coyle, unemployed, from Irwin Crescent in Claudy, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the male relative and inflicting grievous bodily harm on the female relative by punching her several times in the face, breaking her jaw. He's also accused of colliding with two parked vehicles as he left the scene.

Opposing bail, the officer said the defendant had been avoiding police since the incident and had been living in Redcastle, Co Donegal.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said the defendant had told the police that when he arrived at his aunt's home, his van was surrounded by an angry mob of up to eight people, two of whom were the victims. He said in a panic to get away the defendant reversed his van and the male victim ended up under the wheels, but the defendant was not aware that he'd run over the victim.

Refusing bail, Mr McElholm said it was impossible for the defendant not to realise he'd run over the male victim.

The defendant was remanded in custody for a video-link court appearance on August 22.

Belfast Telegraph


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