Heavy police presence at court as brothers appear over murder of Karol Kelly
Police reinforcements were called to the Magistrate's Court in Londonderry on Wednesday when two brothers appeared charged with the murder of father-of-five Karol Kelly.
The 35-year-old was killed during an altercation on Grafton Street in the Rosemount area of the city in the early hours of last Sunday morning.
In Courtroom 2 relatives and friends of the victim, and relatives and friends of the two defendants faced each other from behind lines of police officers during the brief hearing.
The defendants are Gary Anderson, 20 and his brother Sean Anderson, 19, both from 8 Grafton Street outside which Mr Kelly was murdered.
Both men spoke only to confirm that they understood the charge against them and to confirm their names and dates of birth. They're jointly charged with Mr Kelly's murder.
Almost twenty police officers were in the courtroom prior to the defendants being produced in the dock but the hearing was temporarily delayed to allow for the arrival of extra police officers who were deployed both inside and outside the courtroom.
One man carrying a large photograph of Mr. Kelly was removed from the courtroom before the hearing started and two men were arrested for contempt of court during the proceedings by verbally abusing both defendants. All three men were cheered and applauded by people in the section of the public gallery where the relatives and friends of the murder victim were seated or standing.
Before the remand hearing started District Judge Barney McElholm warned that he would not tolerate any unacceptable behaviour by anyone in the public galleries.
"A man is dead here. These are court proceedings and they will be conducted in a dignified and respectful manner so I will not be brooking any bad behaviour by any party. This is a necessary part of the court process and it will be conducted in a dignified manner. Anyone who does not do that risks an immediate prison sentence. Bear in mind the dignity of the deceased. We do not want this turning into a circus", he said.
Meanwhile in her evidence a detective inspector in the PSNI's Major Investigations Team told Mr McElholm that she believed she could connect both defendants to the murder charge.
Questioned by Kevin Casey, solicitor for both defendants, the police officer confirmed that police inquiries had revealed that prior to the murder of Mr Kelly, the deceased had made a number of threats towards the defendants.
"Can you also confirm that police inquiries also reveal that shortly before this incident that lead to the brothers being charged, the deceased and another man, not before the court, entered the family home of the two brothers and assaulted them and that both brothers received injuries as the result of this?" Mr Casey asked the police witness.
The detective inspector replied "I can confirm that your Worship. Gary Anderson lost part of two of his teeth".
The witness also confirmed to Mr Casey that the other man with the deceased had been arrested by the police on suspicion of burglary with intent to cause grievous harm and that witnesses had told the police that the deceased had "made a threat to kill anyone who went to the police" as he left the Grafton Street home of the defendants.
There was no bail application and both defendants were remanded in custody until March 29.
Mr McElholm also granted a defence application for a ban on any photographs of the two defendants being used by any media or social media outlets.
Meanwhile the two men who were arrested in court for contempt later apologised for their behaviour.
A solicitor for one of them said his client was a trained first aid responder who was at the murder scene on Sunday morning and who had applied CPR to the fatally wounded Mr Kelly, who was his best friend. The solicitor said his client had neither slept nor eaten since the incident.
A solicitor for the second man arrested in court said his client accepted that he had not behaved in a dignified manner against a background filled with tension and emotion.
Mr McElholm said the problem with crowd dynamics was when one person started everyone else followed on behind as well. He then told the defendants he was taking no further action against them and that they were free to go.
Belfast Telegraph Digital