Belfast Telegraph

Student accused of breaking girl's nose at school formal is banned from large parts of Belfast

By Alan Erwin

A student accused of breaking his teenage date's nose and fracturing her cheekbones in an attack at her school formal has been banned from large parts of Belfast.

Tight restrictions were imposed on Anthony Kearns' movements at the High Court today in a bid to ensure his alleged victim avoids encountering him.


Granting bail to the 18-year-old defendant on those terms, Mr Justice Burgess said: "Hopefully this will give her some confidence and freedom to move about as she is entitled to do."


Kearns, of Arundel Walk in Belfast, faces a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm to the 17-year-old girl who invited him to accompany her to the function.


She was allegedly punched in the face up to five times and momentarily blacking-out.


The victim, also from Belfast, claimed Kearns attacked her before fleeing from the scene at the Tullyglass House Hotel in Ballymena, Co Antrim on November 15.


She told police that she made a last-minute decision to attend her school formal, with Kearns agreeing to go with her.


During the evening the accused's mood worsened when a row with someone else led to him being hit on the nose, the court heard.


According to the victim's account he became paranoid, arguing with door staff and claiming paramilitaries were going to get him.


She followed him outside when he left the hotel around 2am to wait for the bus home, prosecutors said.


Kearns allegedly became increasingly irrational despite her attempts to reason with him.


It was alleged that he came at her, landing up to five blows to the face before climbing over a wall and running away.


Kearns was later arrested after walking into Ballymena police station to report the alleged assault on him.


The girl was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast to be treated for two fractured cheekbones, a broken nose and cuts round her eyes.
Surgery scheduled for this week at the Ulster Hospital has been put back due to the extent of facial swelling.


A prosecution lawyer described the assault as "really, really violent... out of the blue".


Defence counsel said Kearns had been extremely drunk on the night and has only a vague recollection of what happened.


Althlough the accused studies at a technical college in west Belfast, bail was granted to an alternative address on strict terms that he is not to enter that part of the city.


Imposing an alcohol ban, electronic tagging and prohibition on being out at night, the judge said: "The curfew will keep him away from formals and dances.


"The restrictions will keep him away from the area where the injured party lives, and allows her to use the whole of Belfast so she knows the area where potentially he will be in."


Stressing Kearns was to have no contact with the girl, Mr Justice Burgess added: "He's skating on pretty thin ice given the injuries this lady sustained."

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