Man is refused bail in connection with Coleraine ‘pistol’ incident

ColeraineCourt9 - Edited

A man accused of possessing a pistol during an incident in which a man was allegedly assaulted in Coleraine has been denied bail.

Simon Robert James Fleming of Somerset Drive in the town appeared before Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday – his 44th birthday – via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been on remand in connection with the charges.

He is charged with aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm whilst having a firearm – a pistol; possession of a firearm – a pistol – with intent to cause fear of violence and intimidation of the injured man.

At Monday’s court a police officer objected to bail saying the defendant had 62 previous convictions and there was a “high likelihood” of re-offending.

She said the complainant reported that whilst being punched and kicked Fleming had produced a pistol and that he had a balaclava but was not wearing it.

The victim had alleged he was called an “Orange b*stard”.

He suffered extensive facial bruising and had a bite mark above his eyebrow.

Monday’s Court heard a claim that after an argument broke out the injured party had tried to headbutt the co-accused and ended up scuffling on the ground.

The court heard Fleming and the co-accused were arrested and that a weapon was not recovered and that both men claimed they were in the property in The Heights area having a drink with the victim.

A defence solicitor said both accused claimed the injured party’s account that he was kicked and punched; had his head stamped upon and had a gun forced into his face over a 45 minute period was a “load of nonsense”.

The lawyer said no gun had been found because both accused denied there was a gun.

The defence solicitor said nobody in the apartment block had reported hearing any commotion and, it was claimed by the defendants that the injured party had embellished his story.

The police officer told the court potential witnesses had declined to make statements because of fear of intimidation.

She said the injured party was “absolutely devastated” he would not be spending his first Christmas at the property.

District Judge Peter King said as there was an allegation of a firearm being used and not being recovered he was refusing bail.

He added that would be his view until the weapon was either found or disconnected from the investigation.

Fleming was remanded in continuing custody to December 17.

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