A 21-year-old man who is awaiting sentencing for a series of motoring offences during which a doorman was carried for a distance of almost 30 yards clinging to the bonnet of the defendant's car has received death threats from paramilitaries, a court has heard.
Barrister Joe Brolly told Judge Philip Babington at Londonderry Crown Court yesterday that Jamie Mullan, from Sheriffs Road in the city, believed the IRA was going to kill him, and also that he was under electronic surveillance.
Mr Brolly said that Mullan had installed CCTV and seven locks in his home as well as getting an Alsatian dog.
Mullan has pleaded guilty to charges of causing grievous bodily harm to the doorman by dangerous driving, driving without insurance, and failing to report a road traffic accident.
The charges relate to incidents at the junction of Abercorn Road and Upper Bennett Street in the early hours of November 8, 2015.
CCTV footage of the incidents were played in court which showed the car driven by the defendant travelling forwards and in reverse along Abercorn Road, at times chased by a group of men, some of whom allegedly assaulted the defendant's front seat passenger.
The footage showed the injured party falling onto the bonnet of the car and holding onto the windscreen frame and bonnet as the car was driven into Upper Bennett Street. The doorman is then seen falling off the bonnet as the car made a slight swerving movement. The victim was propelled against a parked van and sustained multiple injuries.
A prosecution barrister said the injuries included a dislocation of the victim's left knee and ruptures to his ligaments which required re-constructive surgery, and left him with permanent damage to his left foot and left ankle.
He said that, after being arrested, the defendant made a no comment interview despite being shown the CCTV footage, adding that Mr Mullan pleaded guilty to the charges on the morning of his trial last November.
At yesterday's hearing, Mr Brolly submitted the CCTV footage showed an inexperienced driver reacting in panic following a fraught series of incidents which included the defendant's passenger being "bludgeoned to the road by a mob". He said the defendant was terrified and thought he was going to be assaulted by the same mob.
The defence barrister said several reports commissioned by the court stated that the defendant had apologised for his actions and that he had made an error of judgement based on fear.
"He said he wishes he could turn the clock back. He panicked in a split second in a very fraught situation," Mr Brolly said.
The barrister said that, at a young age, the defendant had witnessed severe domestic violence and had spent five years in nine different care homes, and had also been bullied when younger because of his sexuality.
Judge Babington said no-one should lose sight of the fact that the victim had sustained serious injuries as a result of the defendant's actions. He said it was a complex case and he would sentence the defendant next Wednesday.
"I will release him on continuing bail until then, but that should not be seen as any indication that he will not receive a custodial sentence," he said.