Accused of ‘slashing’ family members with machete

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A man has appeared in court accused of “slashing” his brother, girlfriend and mother with a two foot machete.

Stephen Patrick O’Kane, whose address was given on court papers as Buncrana Road, faces two charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and possession of the machete on August 16.

An investigating officer told Derry Magistrates Court police were called to a house in Creggan on Thursday morning by the defendant’s mother because two of her sons were fighting.

O’Kane’s brother was allegedly set upon with a machete and had to be taken to hospital for treatment to a “deep gash” to his shoulder.

The court heard that O’Kane’s girlfriend was also injured during the alleged incident when he was “waving the knife about”. She sustained a “slash wound” to her hand and has been transferred to the Ulster Hospital for treatment.

It is further alleged the 23 year-old’s mother sustained a puncture wound to her right elbow as she attempted to separate her sons.

Another witness at the scene allegedly told police O’Kane “went ballistic” and produced the machete before fighting with his brother.

The court heard the defendant has made a counter-allegation against his brother, claiming he was hit with a baseball bat during the incident. He has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

However, the officer revealed that neither brother is willing to make a written statement and police still have to take statements from other witnesses in the house.

Opposing bail, police said they fear O’Kane could interfere with their ability to gather evidence if released on bail.

She added the possession of the machete is concerning to police as it is “not a knife picked up from kitchen in the heat of the moment”.

The officer said police also oppose bail because arrest warrants have been issued in the past due to O’Kane’s failure to appear in court or answer bail.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said the nature of what went on in the house is “a bit confused” and no-one knows the cause of the family dispute.

He told the court his client had a proposed bail address in the Waterside area of the city and stringent conditions could be imposed.

Mr MacDermott added that O’Kane’s mother is “extremely anxious for her son to get help and treatment for his alcohol problem” and he “won’t get that in custody”.

Refusing bail, Deputy District Judge Peter King said that while “everybody is entitled to the presumption of innocence”, the amount of violence used in the alleged incident was “absolutely gross”.

O’Kane was remanded in custody and will appear in court again via videolink on September 13.