Judge refuses bail to man guilty of attempted murder

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A 21-year-old who is facing a lengthy prison sentence for attempting to murder a man in Banbridge in a “very serious and unpleasant attack” has been refused bail.

Michael Loughlin launched the application at Belfast Crown Court to “demonstrate he can desist from crime” and abide by court orders in the six-week period until he is sentenced next month.

Loughlin, from Iveagh Close in Banbridge, is currently on remand in Hydebank and will be sentenced next month for the attempted murder of a local man who was beaten unconscious last July.

Telling the court the attack was so severe that “one would expect him to be dead”, Crown prosecutor Ian Tannahill said the injured party sustained multiple facial fractures including broken eye sockets, and will be undergoing surgery for his injuries “for some time”.

Mr Tannahill also revealed the attack – which occurred in the Scarva Walk area of Banbridge on the afternoon of July 21 2017 – was caught on CCTV, and that during the “prolonged and violent attack” the victim was kicked and punched repeatedly on the ground.

Opposing bail, the prosecutor said: “He was kicked and stamped to the head repeatedly and it’s clear this was continuing after the stage where he was incapable of putting up any form of defence whatsoever.

“It goes on for several minutes and a co-accused becomes distressed at what he is witnessing, despite having engaged in it initially. At one stage, he (Loughlin) ran up to kick him in the head again, as if he is taking a penalty in football, and slides on the blood on the concrete.”

Telling Her Honour Judge McCaffrey that Loughlin has a history of breaching court orders, and was under a suspended sentence and one month into a probation order when he carried out the attack last July, Mr Tannahill said Loughlin had “no regard” for such orders.

A defence barrister accepted the incident and subsequent CCTV footage was “disturbing”, but said his client’s guilty plea demonstrated his acceptance of the seriousness of the attack.

Saying “luckily” for the injured party “his injuries ... were not as bad as the violence that was meted out upon him”, the barrister revealed Loughlin had “little memory” of what he did as he was under the influence or drink and drugs but “accepts entirely that in September a significant sentence will be imposed”.

The barrister said the application for bail was to “try and prove to everybody” that he could abide by any court conditions imposed, which would include liaising with external agencies and a community addiction nurse.

“He wants to demonstrate to everybody before he is sentenced that he has learned his lesson,” the barrister told Judge McCaffrey, adding “he is inviting the court to take a chance on him”.

After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Judge McCaffrey said: “This young man has not shown himself capable of adhering to court orders.

“He is facing an extremely serious matter. This is much too serious a matter for someone to be released on bail and be at large in the community. I am refusing bail.”

Loughlin is due to be sentenced at Newry Crown Court on September 19.