Machete accused must stay in custody - court rules

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A Derry man accused of attacking his mother and brother with a machete must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.

Stephen O’Kane was refused bail amid claims that he went “ballistic” and began swinging a two-foot long cleaver type weapon.

Another woman’s hand also slashed as violence erupted at a house in Derry, prosecutors said.

O’Kane, 24, with an address at Buncrana Road in the city, faces two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He is further accused of possessing a weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence and causing criminal damage.

O’Kane was released after the alleged offences were committed, but moved to England due to a suspected threat from dissident republicans, the court heard.

He was returned to custody following a separate, unrelated incident in Derry last month.

Police were alerted to the scene of the alleged machete attack, in the Creggan area, by an emergency call in August.

Officers discovered the accused’s brother with a deep gasp wound to his shoulder.

Nicola Auret, prosecuting, said a woman in the house claimed O’Kane had been waiving a knife about, slashing her and causing significant blood loss.

The barrister added: “The applicant’s mother also sustained a puncture wound to her elbow.

“She had come downstairs, saw her two sons fighting and got injured as she tried to separate them.”

According to the prosecution one of the women at the scene described how the trouble started.

“She had been drinking with the brothers and said the applicant went ballistic with a machete and began fighting with his brother.”

A 59cm-long weapon was found in one of the rooms, the court heard.

O’Kane denied having the machete and claimed instead that his brother attacked him with a baseball bat, inflicting head and arm injuries.

Defence counsel David Heraghty said his client “hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory” since he was previously released on bail.

“The applicant learned there was a threat against him by dissident persons,” he said.

“The indication given to him was that he had to leave the jurisdiction.”

O’Kane moved to Bradford for a period before returning after the alleged threat was lifted, the court heard.

However, Mr Justice Treacy pointed out that the accused did not report to the authorities when he got back.

Refusing the fresh bail application, the judge held: “Any conditions the court imposes he is not likely to adhere to.”