Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man attacked neighbour's house claiming he was in Continuity IRA, court told

Niall Sands appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)
Niall Sands appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly smashed his neighbour's window and door with a baseball bat, declaring that he was in the Continuity IRA, a court has heard .

Niall Sands, 32, is also accused of assaulting the other man last Thursday during a confrontation in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast.

Sands, of Navan Green in the city, was arrested by detectives from the PSNI's Terrorism Investigation Unit.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court to deny counts of belonging to a proscribed organisation, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

Opposing bail, police claimed he could pose a risk to the alleged victim because they live less than 50 metres apart.

A detective said: "The injured party has provided a statement to say the defendant squared up to him and told him he was a member of the Continuity IRA."

But defence barrister Tom McCreanor disputed the strength of the case against his client.

It was confirmed during cross-examination that the charge of belonging to an outlawed grouping is based only on the complainant's statement.

Mr McCreanor contended: "It appears to be, as alleged, a declaration with no substance."

The court heard no attempt was made to gain entry to the complainant's property during the alleged attack.

Instead, the detective said: "The allegation is that the defendant used a baseball bat to smash a front window and door."

When Sands was interviewed he denied being a member of any proscribed organisation, she added.

Bail was granted for him to live under curfew at an address outside Belfast.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered Sands to keep out of the city except for court dates, and banned him from contacting the alleged victim.

The case was adjourned until October 21.

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