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Assault accused ‘threatened with death’

A man accused of knife and baseball bat attacks on a suspected dissident republican was under paramilitary death threat, the High Court heard yesterday.

Steven Fegan (29) is alleged to have inflicted a puncture wound to the victim's chest by throwing a bladed weapon at him.

He is also accused of beating the same man around the head with a bat during a separate attack in west Belfast weeks later.

Prosecutors said the alleged victim suffered a broken jaw and left arm, lost four teeth and required a total of 70 stitches.

Fegan, of Manor Street, Belfast, faces two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of an offensive weapon, and threats to damage property.

His lawyer claimed he was being menaced by paramilitaries and only acted in self-defence during the alleged knife attack.

The first incident occurred in March when a taxi driver approached the alleged victim on the Springfield Road to say a fare had taken his money, the court heard. Crown counsel Nicola Auret claimed the man then spoke to Fegan, with a row turning violent at the accused's home.

She said: “The applicant went inside and returned with a knife which he threw at (the alleged victim), striking him on the left side of the chest.”

The same man was said to have been attacked by the accused with a baseball bat at a later date.

But the suspect claimed he was in fear of the alleged victim, whom he accused of making threats against him. His lawyer, Joe Brolly, said the injured man was described as “aligned to dissident paramilitaries”.

He told the court: “This accused has been served with a PM1 death threat from a particular paramilitary grouping.”

He said Fegan's case was that he was the one being attacked during the incident at his home in March and that he denied the baseball bat attack.

The judge ruled that the accused could be released on Sunday to attend his child’s christening service.

Belfast Telegraph