Belfast Telegraph

Murder bid accused Forbes 'didn’t plan to hurt neighbour with bow and arrow'

By George Jackson

A cannabis addict who fired arrows at his neighbour with a bow had only intended to harass and frighten the man rather than hurt him, a court has heard.

Brian Gerald Forbes, who has been in custody in Maghaberry Prison since January, was yesterday released on bail at the city's Crown Court.

The 49-year-old, from Glenanne in the Bishop Street area of Londonderry, is charged with attempting to murder his neighbour with a hunting bow and arrow. He is also accused of possessing the bow, two arrows and an axe. Forbes is further charged with causing criminal damage to his neighbour's Glendara home by firing two arrows at it.

One lodged in the front door which the neighbour was standing behind, and the other smashed an upstairs window.

Forbes is alleged to have committed the offences on January 3. Opposing the bail application, a barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told Judge Philip Babington that the hunting bow allegedly used by the accused was capable of inflicting serious injury or death.

He said Forbes knew where the complainant lived and there was therefore a fear of interference with him if the defendant was granted bail.

Defence barrister Paul Kearney said the accused, a long-term cannabis user, had befriended the man when they worked on building sites in London in the 1980s.

Forbes returned home and the complainant - a US citizen - followed him to Derry and settled there.

However, the court heard the relationship between the two deteriorated and they had a row over money the man allegedly owed the accused.

The defendant also believed that the man was invading his social circle in a destructive manner. Mr Kearney said when his client fired the arrows, he only intended to harass and frighten his former friend rather than cause him physical harm.

He added Forbes' actions were compounded by heavy and regular use of cannabis and that while in custody he had been assessed as suffering from a drug-induced acute psychosis.

The barrister added since the accused was remanded in custody in January, he had made no bail application and was drugs-free.

Judge Babington said he was granting bail but with some considerable hesitation and he warned Forbes that if he breached any of the conditions he would be immediately returned to custody.

The defendant, whose trial has been fixed for January 29, was released on his own bail of £250 together with a surety from his mother, also £250.

He must reside with his mother at her Baldrick Crescent home, observe an 8pm to 8am curfew and report to police three times a week.

Forbes was also banned from drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs and must agree to any tests if asked to undergo them by police.

The defendant will also be electronically monitored.

Belfast Telegraph

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