Belfast Telegraph

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Pipe bomb left at door of mother of man accused in one-punch death case, court told

Darren O’Neill died in hospital after allegedly being punched on a Co Down beach.
Darren O’Neill died in hospital after allegedly being punched on a Co Down beach.

By Paul Higgins

A pipe bomb was left at the door of the mother of a man accused of killing another in a one-punch attack on a Co Down beach last summer, a court has heard.

A solicitor representing Joseph Dorian (22) said there had been a “sinister turn of events” since the case was last before the court — revealing there had been a pipe bomb attack at the house of the defendant’s mother.

When Dorian, from Lakeview, Crumlin, appeared at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court via video-link on Thursday, friends and family of Darren O’Neill packed the public gallery of court two, many of them wearing T-shirts printed with a photograph of the 22-year-old who died last June.

It was reported at the time how Mr O’Neill had gone with friends to Tyrella Beach on June 27, a hot summer’s day, when he was assaulted in what was described as a “one-punch attack.”

Rushed to hospital with a serious head injury, the popular Belfast man tragically died two days after the incident.

Dorian was initially freed on police bail accused of causing grievous bodily harm to Mr O’Neill on June 27.

But he now faces a charge of manslaughter following Mr O’Neill’s tragic death.

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After a prosecuting lawyer told Judge Brady in court on Thursday there was now a “full file” with a senior prosecutor — but that a medical report remains outstanding — the defence solicitor asked that the case be transferred to Belfast as the defendant felt “intimidated.”

The lawyer expressed concerns that the chairs in the Downpatrick petty sessions courtroom could be “picked up”.

And he had concerns for the safety of himself, his client, court security staff and anyone attending court, suggesting it would be better being heard at Laganside courthouse.

Remanding Dorian back into custody to appear again on January 9, Judge Brady said there “appears to be meaningful progress” in the case, and advised the defence solicitor to “take this matter up with the Lord Chief Justice”.

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