Ballymena Court hears details of ‘unprovoked sectarian attack’ as man was walking home in early hours

Ballymena Courthouse

A COURT has heard there was an “unprovoked sectarian attack” by at least five masked men as a man walked home through a town centre in the early hours of the morning.

Details were given to Ballymena Magistrates Court where one of a number of men charged in connection with the incident applied for a variation of bail.

A man had been walking in The Roddens area of Larne when he was assaulted.

Stephen Morton (30), of Greenland Crescent, Larne, is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of cannabis relating to November 23 this year.

The defendant had previously been bailed to an address outside of Larne with conditions including not entering the town and a night time curfew involving being electronically monitored.

However, at Thursday’s court he applied to be allowed into a part of Larne.

A police officer objected to bail saying there had been an “unprovoked sectarian attack” around 2am when the complainant said he was walking home when he was attacked by at least five masked men.

The officer said the complainant named Stephen Morton as he recognised him “before he put his balaclava on”.

A defence solicitor said Stephen Morton will be contesting the matter.
Deputy District Judge Noel Dunlop allowed the defendant access to a part of Larne.

Two other men – Gareth Luney (29), of Blackthorn Rise in Larne and Jonathan Karl McCloskey (26), of Green Link in Larne – each face a charge of assaulting the complainant thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm.

Gareth Luney also had his bail varied to allow him to enter a part of Larne between 6pm and 9pm on a Thursday and from noon to 6pm on Saturdays “for the purpose of playing football”.

The cases have been adjourned to January.

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