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Man accused of attacking unconscious stranger in Belfast park released from prison due to Covid-19

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The accused appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

The accused appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

The accused appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A man who allegedly attacked an unconscious stranger in a south Belfast park had been released early from prison due to Covid-19, a court heard today.

Robbie Miller, 23, is accused of kicking and punching the other man about the head and body as he lay on the ground at Botanic Gardens.

Police revealed the victim, aged in his twenties, suffered breaks in two bones holding his foot in place during last month's assault.

Miller, of Parkmore Street in the city, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, affray and possessing an offensive weapon - namely a bottle.

The alleged offences relate to clashes involving a large group of males in the park on May 29.

A co-defendant is currently in custody accused of using a broken beer bottle in the same attack.

Opposing Miller's application for bail, police claimed mobile phone recordings showed him behaving aggressively to others gathered in Botanic Gardens.

"In the footage he can be seen kicking and punching (the injured party) on the ground while he is believed to be unconscious," a detective said.

The victim sustained facial injuries and a fractured ankle.

"The tibia and fibula bones in his leg, holding his foot on were cracked," the detective added.

"There doesn't seem to be any reason behind the assault, or any connection with the injured party."

Defence counsel Sean O'Hare agreed that there was no history between the two men.

"The complainant is completely unknown to (Miller), and the defendant was not named by the alleged victim," he said.

Mr O'Hare set out his client's past addiction to alcohol and drugs, as well as disclosing how he had been among those temporarily freed as part of measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

"He was released from custody slightly early, because of Covid-19, at the beginning of May," the barrister confirmed.

District Judge Mark McGarrity was informed Miller's licence has now been revoked.

Refusing bail, he ruled: "The risk of re-offending can't be managed by the imposition of conditions."

Miller was remanded in custody, to appear again by video-link in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph