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Armagh man charged with attempted murder left victim in vegetative state, court hears

Armagh Magistrates' Court

An Armagh man charged with attempted murder has had an application for bail turned down on Tuesday morning.

Mantas Pilyponis, 26, of Lonsdale Road, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, via videolink from Maghaberry, accused with violently attacking another man, leaving him in a vegetative state, in which he is unlikely to recover.

The prosecution told the courtroom that police were called to an address in the Orangfield area of the city just before midnight on April 29.

They arrived to find the defendant and another male in the living room of the property.

It was heard that both men – the accused and alleged victim – appeared intoxicated with Pilyponis showing blood on his left palm.

Police noted the injured party lying in a pool of blood on the ground. He had lacerations to his head, lips and back.

A screwdriver was collected by crime scene investigators in connection with the incident.

The injured party was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Prosecution lawyer Mark George stated the victim was in a vegetative state and was unlikely to recover.

The defendant was arrested, and when interviewed, stated he had been visiting his cousin, who lives opposite the injured party.

Mr George, objecting to the bail application, also stated that Pilyponis claims persons unknown to himself had assaulted the victim.

He added that the defendant had 46 prior convictions in Northern Ireland, including six for assault on police.

Pilyponis also had a record in his native Lithuania, including possession of a weapon and possession of a firearm.

Mr George stated that he believed the defendant to have ties to Lithuania, and this, along with the possible sentence, was a substantial flight risk.

He also claimed Pilyponis had already threatened a witness in the case.

It was also heard that the defendant had previously had four bench warrants out in his name.

Mr george told District Judge Paul Copeland that he was of the firm belief that, given his record, the defendant was likely to reoffend.

Defence barrister Patrick Taggart countered that the bench warrants had been due to a deportation matter for which Pilyponis had fought to stay in the country.

He commented that the defendant had a young child in this country and had lived here almost half his life, so much so that he “spoke with an Armagh accent”.

Mr Taggart also questioned the case as the witness, who linked Pilyponis to the offence, was no longer living in the country, having moved back to Lithuania.

Mr Taggart added that no evidence of witness intimidation had been served on him.

District Judge Copeland refused bail for Pilyponis stating he did not consider the defendant suitable for bail.

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