Man denied permission to return to family home

Court image.
Court image.

A 53-year old man awaiting trial on charges linked to a loyalist feud was today (Tuesday) denied permission to move back home, due to concerns for his safety.

Glen McCullough is one of three men due to stand trial this April following an attack on a pub doorman in Carrickfergus.

The bouncer was battered with a fire extinguisher last March at the Royal Oak Bar.

McCullough, whose Co Antrim address cannot be reported due to an existing reporting restriction, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He is currently on bail, and earlier today his barrister applied for bail to be varied to allow him to return to the family home. However, after Belfast Crown Court heard objections from the PSNI about a threat against McCullough, and ongoing tensions in Carrick, Judge Geoffrey Miller refused the application.

Prior to reaching his decision, defence barrister Johnny Browne told the Judge he was seeking a variation to allow his client to return to the family home.

Citing the main reason as "financial", Mr Browne said at present his self-employed client was "running two houses" and had just paid a tax bill to HMRC.

Mr Browne also pointed out that since McCullough was granted bail to live at an approved address last May there had been "no breaches and no concerns."

When the Crown was asked its opinion, prosecuting counsel Sam Magee spoke of "grave concerns" for Mr McCullough's safety, should he return home.

Mr Magee also spoke of a "murder in that area" which has been attributed to a loyalist feud, and said that McCullough's return may lead to "heightened tension."

The Crown barrister revealed that when a bail address was being sought for McCullough last year, the owners of caravan parks on the Ards Peninsula which were proposed by the defendant were issued with threats.

Mr Magee said: "Various sites which he may have been living at were contacted and threats were made that this temporary accommodation would have been burned out."

Objecting to McCullough's request, Mr Magee said concerns were for both his safety, and that of the general public.

In response to concerns raised over his client's safety, Mr Browne said that since McCulllough was released on bail, there has been "absolutely nothing" brought to his attention to suggest there was a heightened risk to his personal safety.

The defence barrister also told the court: "The applicant himself is, to some extent, responsible for his own safety.

"If he wishes to return to that area ... that is a matter for him to consider, in terms of his own personal safety."

After listening to submissions from the Crown and defence, Judge Miller said McCullough's trial was scheduled to start in two months.

Saying he was also considering the "overall contexts of the charges," and the fact loyalist feud had spread to Bangor, Judge Miller refused to vary bail and allow McCullough to return home.

McCullough will remain on bail at a suitable address, ahead of a trial due to take place in April in the same court.