A 27-year-old awaiting sentence on domestic offences has been refused bail on Wednesday after concerns were raised regarding his grandparents’ health.
Stephen Jonathan Brown has been housed in Maghaberry since his arrest in March 2019 following an attack on his ex-partner.
He is awaiting sentence on three charges, including assault occasioning actual bodily harm and false imprisonment.
A bail application was made on behalf of Brown at Belfast Crown Court by his barrister Luke Curran.
Mr Curran put forward Brown’s grandparents home as a bail address, which he said had been confirmed by Brown’s grandfather.
Saying “the family are a unit”, Mr Curran said both grandparents had expressed a wish to assist and support their grandson, adding that Brown “lived there for quite a period of time before jail”.
Mr Curran said it was accepted the domestic incident Brown is awaiting sentence on was “terrifying”.
He also pointed out his client has been in custody “in excess of a year”, which is the equivalent of a two-year sentence.
The defence barrister spoke of the current lockdown situation, and said Brown’s grandfather “feels it would be better having him home, where he can assist them”.
Mr Curran ended his submission by telling Judge McFarland that Brown would abide by any bail conditions imposed.
Addressing the issue of the Covid-19 crisis, Crown barrister Kate McKay expressed concerns about Brown leaving a prison environment and staying with “two vulnerable people living alone together”.
Ms McKay said: “He has been in contact with other inmates, which would put his grandparents at significant risk.
“Police are concerned about this aspect.”
Opposing bail, the Crown barrister branded the domestic offences as “very serious”.
She pointed out that Brown had breached bail in the past. After listening to submissions from the Crown and defence, Judge McFarland said both Brown’s grandfather and grandmother had serious underlying health issues.
The Belfast Recorder also raised concerns about a previous alleged assault against the grandfather in the past, as well as Brown’s “general history in relation to offending”.
Judge McFarland said that under the circumstances the bail address was unsuitable and refused the application.