Belfast Telegraph

Three men face trial after 'show of strength' at Belfast bar

Police at the scene of an incident at the Mount Inn on North Queen Street in the early hours of Thursday morning - February 22nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Police at the scene of an incident at the Mount Inn on North Queen Street in the early hours of Thursday morning - February 22nd 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Three men have been ordered to stand trial later this year over an attack on a north Belfast pub.

Appearing at Belfast Crown Court were David Thomas Majury (48), of Church Green, Holywood, Co Down, Christopher Moore (27), of Woodvale Drive, Belfast, and Andrew Morrow (26), from Hopewell Crescent, Belfast.

All three pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful assembly and causing affray.

The first charge states that on February 21, 2018, they "assembled with others, in an assembly of three or more persons, with intent to encourage the commission of a crime by open force''.

Count two alleges that on the same date at The Mount Inn, North Queen Street in north Belfast, they "unlawfully displayed force and made affray''.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that a certificate had been issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions for the case to be heard without a jury.

The judge fixed the trial for September which is expected to last three days.

All three were released to await the start of their Diplock-style trial.

No details were given in court about the charges faced by the three defendants.

But when they appeared at a hearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court in the wake of the incident, a judge was told that 20 masked men stormed the bar in Tiger's Bay to issue threats to five people for alleged anti-social behaviour.

Stools were overturned, two men were punched and patrons cornered inside the Mount Inn during the “show of strength”, police claimed.

The judge heard a list of names was read out and warnings were issued that their alleged activities would not be tolerated.

A detective claimed they were in the group who arrived in a convoy of vehicles at the pub.

She said: “It would appear a show of strength was made when a crowd of masked men stormed the bar.”

The officer alleged CCTV footage showed customers being directed into a corner before the message was delivered, the court heard.

She added: “The address was about anti-social behaviour and how it would not be tolerated. They named five names and said these people were under threat.”

Police later contacted all five to issue warnings about their safety.

According to police, Majury, Moore and Morrow allegedly left with scarves and hoods up and got into a car together.

When the vehicle was stopped and searched one balaclava was said to have been recovered from under the driver’s seat.

Defence lawyers told the court that there was insufficient evidence to connect their clients to the charges.

Morrow's defence barrister Mark Farrell said: "Mere presence at a crime scene is not enough.

"The Crown have been unable to identify with any precision what my client is alleged to have done.”

However, the district judge ruled there was enough for a connection to the charges and released all three men on strict bail conditions.

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