Belfast Telegraph

Man denied bail to be at baby’s birth

The aftermath of the alleged hit-and-run incident at an Eleventh Night bonfire in south Belfast

Fifteen people were injured during an alleged hit-and-run collision at an Eleventh Night bonfire in Belfast, the High Court was told.

Prosecutors disclosed the total number of those reportedly hurt as a man accused over the incident was denied bail to attend the birth of his child.

A judge was yesterday told Dean Nesbitt accelerated his car after it was surrounded by a group of men shouting sectarian abuse in the Village area of the city.

Crown counsel Fiona O'Kane said it was claimed that the 29-year-old was called a “Fenian” and a “Taig”.

At one point someone tried to open the door to his Rover vehicle, it was alleged.

Nesbitt, of Violet Street, Belfast, is accused of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop or report an accident, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

The charges relate to a collision at Coolfin Street, off the Donegall Road, early on July 12.

Mrs O'Kane said Nesbitt's car was driving slowly through a crowd of up to 200 people attending a bonfire when it was |surrounded.

“I'm advised that a total of 15 people have reported to police they were injured,” the barrister said.

Although the motorist did not stop, the court heard how the following day Nesbitt's partner claimed she had been behind the wheel. However, photographic evidence was said to confirm the driver was male.

Nesbitt was only arrested two weeks later, when he claimed to have driven the car after his pregnant girlfriend complained of stomach pains.

He said he feared for his safety when a mob encircled the vehicle and began rocking it from side to side, the court was told.

His barrister, Charles McCreanor, stressed the compassionate bail application was limited to attendance at the labour stage of the birth.

But, refusing the request, Mr Justice Hart said: “This man simply cannot be trusted in any way at all to comply with any conditions the court might impose on him.”

Belfast Telegraph

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