Belfast Telegraph

Court sees footage of Co Antrim doorman being hit with fire extinguisher

Three men on trial over violence at Carrick bar

By Ashlegh McDonald

CCTV footage which shows a Co Antrim doorman being hit up to four times with a 16.3kg fire extinguisher has been shown at a non-jury trial in Belfast.

Three men have been charged with causing the Carrickfergus doorman grievous bodily harm with intent, following a violent altercation at the Royal Oak Bar in the town last March.

The doorman was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after the March 11 attack, which erupted after he refused entry to a group of people.

Belfast Crown Court heard the doorman sustained fractures to his skull, cheekbone and eye. He also sustained a traumatic brain injury which required neurosurgery at Musgrave Park Hospital. The trial was told he now suffers from double vision, has a reduced sense of smell and taste, and hearing issues. He has also attended physiotherapy to help him walk.

Footage taken from two security cameras at the bar show the doorman refusing to let three men and a woman in.

A fight then breaks out between the group and the door staff, with cameras showing brothers Ian (37) and Brian (51) Sinclair involved in an altercation with the doorman, while Glen McCullough (53) fights outside with a second bouncer.

As he played the footage to the court, Crown barrister Sam Magee told Judge Gordon Kerr QC that Ian and Brian Sinclair could both be seen repeatedly punching the doorman. Ian Sinclair is seen lifting a fire extinguisher from the wall, and after the doorman is brought to the ground by his brother, according to Mr Magee, the defendant "slams it at least three times ... to the upper part of his body, in all likelihood the head."

The footage shows the Sinclair brothers leaving the bar. Seconds later McCullough - who did not see the first attack on the doorman - appears in the foyer.

Mr Magee said the footage then shows McCullough picking up the fire extinguisher, "raising it to head height and dropping it in the same direction his co-accused had".

Mr Magee said McCullough's face was aggressive, and that he intended to cause "maximum damage" as he would have seen the doorman lying prone and covered in blood. He said McCullough carried out this act in a "purposeful and deliberate way".

Fellow members of staff and customers came to the doorman's aid, and when he was taken to hospital he was conscious but dazed, unable to speak and vomited blood.

All three have admitted involvement in the attack. While the Sinclairs have both admitted causing GBH with intent, Brian Sinclair has disputed that he knew the fire extinguisher was going to be used.

When he was arrested several hours after the incident, McCullough initially gave a 'no comment' interview. Mr Magee said that when he was presented with the CCTV footage, the accused said that after he lifted the fire extinguisher, he dropped it in panic as he saw the "terrible condition" the doorman was in.

McCullough also claimed he dropped it beside the prone doorman, and it "might have hit his leg."

While Ian Sinclair has admitted the charge and is due to be sentenced at a later date, Brian Sinclair has also pleaded guilty to the offence, but disputes that he knew his brother was going to use the fire extinguisher in the incident.

McCullough pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting the doorman and causing him actual bodily harm, but the Crown does not accept this and he is currently standing trial on the more serious charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The addresses of the three co-accused cannot be published due to a reporting restriction.

At hearing.

Belfast Telegraph

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