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Belfast man 'stabbed uncle in neck and threatened to chop him up', court hears

A man allegedly stabbed his uncle in the neck and threatened to chop him up, the High Court heard today.

Paul Smith is accused of attacking Eamonn O'Neill with a vodka bottle after being ejected from his west Belfast home in a drink-fuelled row.

He denies charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, threats to kill and possession of an offensive weapon.

The 33-year-old, of Cuchulainn House, Belfast, was granted bail but banned from going near his uncle's Divis Street home.

Mr O'Neill received 15 stitches and staples for neck and ear wounds inflicted during the alleged incident on February 2, the court heard.

Prosecuting counsel said he was initially unable to tell police who had stabbed him, but made a statement naming Smith the following day.

It was claimed that they had been drinking heavily before the accused began to row with his girlfriend and Mr O'Neill.

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Smith was asked to leave but later returned to carry out the attack, according to the prosecutor.

"The applicant is alleged to have lifted an empty vodka bottle, hit him (Mr O'Neill) over the head and stabbed him in the neck with the broken bottle," she told the court.

Mr Justice O'Hara was told another uncle was present but has not made a statement to police.

Detailing the alleged threat to kill, the prosecution lawyer added: "He threatened that he was going to chop up his uncle and his girlfriend, although there's no charge in relation to the girlfriend."

Jon Paul Shields, defending, stressed Smith denies any involvement in the incident.

"His instructions are that he simply wasn't there, that he was at his flat and this has nothing to do with him," the barrister said.

Having questioned the alleged facts put forward by the prosecution, Mr Shields also expressed surprise that no forensic examination was carried out.

"It's not clear whether the bottle apparently used has been seized," he added.

"That would have been a reservoir of forensic evidence."

Granting bail for Smith to live in the city's New Lodge, the judge banned him entering the lower Falls Road area.

He also ordered the accused to seek medical treatment for alcohol issues.

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