Assault accused refused bail

A man has appeared at Derry Magistrate's Court charged with murder.
A man has appeared at Derry Magistrate's Court charged with murder.

A man who sustained multiple facial fractures in an alleged assault was ‘unrecognizable’ to people who knew him a court has heard.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the alleged injured parties face was so badly swollen his eyes were swollen shut.

James Lee Rush, whose address was given on court papers as Baltimore House, Bridge Street, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the man on February 18, last year.

The 23-year-old is further charged with robbery.

It is alleged the complainant was in a city centre take-away when he met a man called ‘James’, who claimed to be homeless.

The alleged injured party brought this man to a bar and bought him drinks throughout the night.

The court heard he paid for those drinks with money taken from an envelope containing more than £600 in cash.

It is alleged the man offered to show ‘James’ the way to a B&B where he could stay for the night and the last thing he remembers is being hit on the back of the head.

The complainant was found by a member of the public ‘on his hands and knees in a dark alleyway’ close to Pilot’s Row.

The court was told he only realised the envelope containing the cash was missing when he arrived in hospital.

Rush was arrested three months after the alleged assault and clothing was seized.

During police interview, the 23-year-old made no comment.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer told the court Rush is a ‘violent offender’ who has committed further offences since the alleged assault.

She added that the proposed bail address is in England, where his bail conditions cannot be closely monitored.

The officer said police have concerns this could put ‘the public at risk’ and that the bail address is not suitable.

She also told the court Rush has a history of breaching bail.

Defence solicitor Michael McGee said Rush has been bailed to this address in the past without breaching conditions or committing further offences,

He added it would be a ‘positive thing’ for the defendant to leave the area and his peers to spend time with his family.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused the application. He said this is a ‘very, very serious assault and one that should attract a lengthy custodial sentence if proven’.

Rush was remanded in custody to appear in court again on June 14.