Belfast Telegraph

Aggravated burglary accused refused bail as judge says she's a duty to protect public

Aggravated burglary accused James Carlisle
Aggravated burglary accused James Carlisle
Malcolm McKeown was murdered on Monday.

By Paul Higgins

A man accused of a violent burglary in which a householder was bound with cable ties has been refused bail after a judge said she had to protect the public.

James Carlisle (37) spoke only to confirm that he understood the single charge against him yesterday at Lisburn Magistrates Court.

Carlisle, from Finulagh Road in Dungannon, was charged with the aggravated burglary of a house on the Beanstown Road in Lisburn last November 14.

A police officer told the court she believed she could connect Carlisle to the offence, adding that police were objecting to bail amid fears he would commit further offences or abscond.

She said the victim, a man in his 50s, was alone at home when a van containing "two or three men" pulled to outside his home.

"When he went out to speak to them he was punched in the gut, causing him to be confused and disoriented," said the officer.

He was then "bundled into the house and cable-tied by his hands and feet". While he lay face down on the living room floor the gang ransacked his house before stealing a box of jewellery, said the officer.

They sped off in the van when the man's niece and elderly mother returned home and, while police pursued the van, officers "were unable to catch them".

During the pursuit the gang ditched the van but a high-vis jacket became ensnared in a barbed wire fence. The court heard Carlisle was arrested after his DNA was found on its collar.

Arrested and interviewed, Carlisle "denied any involvement" in the aggravated burglary but couldn't remember where he was that specific day, the officer said.

An alleged accomplice, Malcolm McKeown (54), from Meadowvale in Waringstown, has already been charged after his DNA was allegedly discovered on the cable ties.

Having been granted bail by the High Court, he was also due to appear at Lisburn court yesterday, but his solicitor said he had not attended as his bail conditions barred him from entering the city.

District Judge Rosie Watters changed them so McKeown can attend future hearings. The officer agreed with Carlisle's defence counsel that McKeown had been freed on bail by the High Court and "there's no distinction to be drawn" between the two accused. However, Judge Watters said McKeown's bail had come after she had refused it.

The officer told the court that Carlisle has a "propensity for violence" and police feared he would commit further offences.

Refusing to free Carlisle, Judge Watters said "my view was that Mr McKeown was not a suitable candidate for bail". "I think if a High Court judge wants to release him on bail that's his prerogative but I'm concerned about the commission of further offences and the protection of the public," declared Judge Watters.

Both men will appear again on September 16.

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