21-year-old accused of ‘slashing’ man with broken bottle

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

There were violent scenes in court today as a 21-year-old accused of ‘slashing’ a man was remanded in custody.

Marc Villa, who was handcuffed throughout the hearing at the city’s magistrates court, threw a chair across the courtroom after he was refused bail.

The 21-year-old had to be restrained by five prison officers as he struggled violently and made a threat to a police officer.

Villa, of John Street, is charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on June 22.

He is further charged with possessing an offensive weapon, namely a broken bottle.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that, shortly after 11:30am on June 22, the alleged injured party reported he had been attacked with a bottle.

The man had sustained a laceration to his left forearm, which required eight stitches.

He allegedly named Villa, who is in a relationship with his ex-partner, as the perpetrator.

The complainant told police he was waiting at a bus stop at Strand Road when he saw his ex-partner and Villa leave a nearby supermarket.

He claimed that Villa walked across the road and began shouting at him, ‘you better watch yourself, I know where you live’.

The court heard allegations that Villa punched the man and they both ended up on the ground.

The female also allegedly punched the complainant during a scuffle. She was arrested and released on bail pending further enquiries.

It is alleged Villa went behind a billboard, lifted a bottle and smashed it on the ground.

The court heard claims Villa struck out with the bottle towards the man’s neck and he raised his arm to protect himself.

It is alleged this is when he was ‘slashed’ on the inner left arm.

An investigating officer said police arrested Villa and the female in a car park a short time later.

During interview, the 21-year-old denied being in possession of a bottle or slashing the complainant.

Villa claimed the man ‘must have cut himself’.

The defendant also claimed that the alleged injured party punched him and spat at the female.

Opposing bail, the investigating officer said Villa was a ‘priority offender’ with 48 previous convictions.

He told the court the accused has a previous conviction for possessing an offensive weapon and has a ‘history of breaching bail’.

The officer also revealed Villa had only been released from prison in April this year.

Defence solicitor Elaine Kirk said this type of offending was ‘not typical of this defendant’.

She added there was no difficulties with the proposed bail address and that, since his release from prison, Villa had made a ‘lot of progress’.

Deputy District Judge Joe Rice refused bail for fear of further offences.

He said “there has to be an opportunity for the passions to subside’ and it would be better if there was a bail address outside the city.

Villa was remanded in custody to appear in court again via videolink on July 16.

After Villa became violent, Deputy District Judge Rice asked the PPS to take note of the threat made towards the police officer.