Belfast Telegraph

Man battered with hatchet and bar is likely to lose one of his eyes, court told

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link next month (stock photo)
The defendant was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link next month (stock photo)

By Staff Reporter

A man allegedly attacked by two brothers - one armed with a hatchet, the other with a bar - is likely to lose an eye, a court has heard.

A police officer made the disclosure during a bail application for one of the brothers, who was allegedly caught on CCTV "striking the victim 25 times" as he lay helpless on the ground.

Ryan Gerard McGlinchey (36) and his 18-year-old brother James McGlinchey, both from Mill Street in Fintona, are jointly charged with unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to the victim on July 19.

The elder brother was allegedly armed with a hatchet, and the younger brother with a bar during the attack.

The pair are also accused of a lesser assault on a second male.

Lawyers for James McGlinchey mounted a bail application at Omagh Magistrates' Court which the PSNI officer strongly opposed.

She explained a 999 call was received at around 1am on the morning in question to report that two males were being chased by the McGlinchey brothers along Craigavon Road in Fintona, with each brother brandishing a weapon.

The road divided and the victims split up, running in different directions.

The McGlincheys allegedly pursued the male who turned left.

He tripped and fell and while on the ground was set upon, with James McGlinchey allegedly striking him up to 25 times to the head and upper body.

When police arrived on the scene, the victim was bleeding heavily.

He was initially treated at South West Acute Hospital but, due to the seriousness of his injuries, was transferred to Altnagelvin Hospital.

The officer said one head wound was particularly serious and, despite specialist treatment, the victim was informed that he would "have no vision in his left eye".

"It is likely he will lose the eye completely," the officer said.

"There were also deep lacerations all over his body, where he was hit with the hatchet and bar."

After he was arrested, James McGlinchey gave "no comment" replies to all questions.

A defence lawyer said his client's record was very limited and bail could be granted to reside with his father in Londonderry.

But the officer responded: "We have spoken to the father, who hasn't seen the defendant for two years after he moved to Fintona at age 16 to reside with the co-accused.

"The father has heard nothing from him in that time.

"Police are concerned at the lack of parental responsibility and that the father-son relationship is not strong."

"This was a very vicious, offensive attack.

"The fact the defendant (struck out) so many times and with such force, I suggest he lost complete control.

"He is currently on Crown Court bail for an alleged assault, which is due for trial.

"His record is limited, but he has been coming to police attention more often since living with his brother."

A defence lawyer argued bail to reside with the father would take his client out of the Fintona area.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: "This man has shown no interest in his father since aged 16, then suddenly expects to live with him.

"These alleged offences were allegedly committed while on Crown Court bail. That's about as bad as it gets.

"That tells me nothing will get him to do what he is supposed to do.

"I can't think of a single bail condition to stop him re-offending."

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link next month.

The older brother will make an application for compassionate bail next week to be allowed to attend the birth of his child.

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