Bail for 29 year-old accused of slashing man across face

A man was slashed across the face in a suspected knife attack after making offensive remarks to women, the High Court heard today.

He underwent surgery for the wounds inflicted outside a house following a heavy drinking session at a Derry city centre bar.

Prosecutors said he was cut from just under his ear to the corner of his mouth in the early hours of December 9.

His alleged attacker, John Stokes, faces charges of grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a bladed article in public.

The 29-year-old accused, of Springmeadow, Belfast, claims it was a pre-emptive strike in self defence.

He was granted bail but banned from going anywhere in Northern Ireland west of the River Bann.

Stokes and the injured man, who is from Letterkenny, drank 12-15 bottles of beer each during a night out with others, the court was told.

After the bar closed they went back to a house in Strathfoyle where more drink was taken.

Nicola Auret, prosecuting, said Stokes allegedly asked the stab victim to step outside after he made comments women at the house found offensive.

It was claimed that as they stood smoking and chatting Stokes suddenly slashed him across his cheek.

“The injured party didn’t see what was used but believes it was a knife,” Ms Auret said.

Forensic examinations are expected to be carried out on a large kitchen knife seized by police.

Stokes claimed, however, that it was the injured man who came at him with a blade.

The court heard he then lashed out with a broken beer bottle after realising he was about to be attacked.

“He would say this was a split second, at the point the injured party was producing the knife,” his barrister said.

“Mr Stokes takes the view that there is no way any DNA or finger prints will connect him to the knife because he simply never touched the knife.”

Granting bail, Lord Justice Girvan also ordered the accused to provide cash sureties of £4,000, banned him from contacting the alleged victim and imposed an alcohol prohibition.