Belfast Telegraph

Czech national beaten and kicked unconscious outside Co Down home may have to undergo facial surgery, court hears

By Alan Erwin

A Czech national beaten and kicked unconscious outside his home in Co Down may have to undergo facial surgery, the High Court heard on Monday.

The man sustained a fractured cheekbone and puncture wounds to the chest and lung, with one witness telling police the alleged assailants had jumped on his head.

Due to the language barrier detectives have yet to form an opinion on any potential racial motive for targeting the victim as he walked back from a night out on November 12, prosecutors said.

Martin Lynch, 45, of Carraig View in Downpatrick, is one of two men charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

Refusing his application for bail, Lord Justice Stephens said: "There's a prima facie case of what would be described as wanton and cruel violence causing really serious injuries."

The victim, who speaks little English, was taken to hospital after being discovered with head injuries at Kennedy Square in Downpatrick.

Through an interpreter he later told police he had gone out alone to a pub in the town, conversing with no-one other than a barman to order drinks.

According to prosecution counsel Conor Maguire he realised that he was being followed as he walked home.

The man recalled being struck to the back of the head, knocked to the ground and surrounded as repeated blows were inflicted.

"He said he could not understand what they were saying, and can't describe the perpetrators as he was trying to protect himself by covering his head," Mr Maguire told the court.

"He told police that he may have lost consciousness because the next thing he remembered was a neighbour cradling him and shouting for help."

The man was said to be in tears as he gave an account of what he insisted had been an unprovoked attack.

"He was told that he may require facial surgery for the fractured cheekbone," the prosecutor disclosed.

A man who lives in the area claims to have witnessed Lynch and his co-accused carry out the attack.

The court heard he allegedly looked out his window and viewed the pair "jumping on the guy that lives at number...", kicking him on the head at least three times.

Mr Maguire continued: "He said it looked as though they were mainly jumping on his head."

Another woman told police she was woken by shouting and screaming, looked outside and saw her next door neighbour being kicked and punched by two men in his front garden.

She said that she ran outside to help, but by then the assailants had left.

Referring to the translation difficulties in the case, Mr Maguire added: "Police are unable to form a view at this point on whether there was any racial motive behind the attack."

Defence barrister Richard McConkey insisted it would be unfair to suggest the man was targeted because of ethnicity without any evidence.

Mr McConkey submitted that Lynch is registered as a carer for his wife and should be released from custody to look after her.

But denying his application, the judge held there was a risk of re-offending based on the alleged facts.

He added: "It could be described as an outrageous assault which betrays a really savage attitude to the safety and bodily integrity of others."

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