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Bail for man alleged to have gone to father’s home with meat cleaver and spitting on police officer

Court heard the 27-year-old had spent the equivalent of almost seven months in custody and that his father had made a withdrawal statement

Meat cleaver
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A Craigavon man who is alleged to have spat in the face of a police officer and attended his father’s home with a meat cleaver has been released on bail.

This comes after court heard the 27-year-old had spent the equivalent of almost seven months in custody and that his father had made a withdrawal statement.

Matthew McNally, of Enniskeen, is charged with two counts of criminal damage, possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, common assault, three counts of assault on police and possession of a Class C drug.

At Lisburn Magistrates’ Court on Monday, defence barrister Michael Tierney informed the court that he was making a bail application on his client’s behalf.

Prosecution outlined, the defendant’s father had reported that his son had appeared at his home, on Drumellan Court, Craigavon, in the early hours of March 16, allegedly armed with a meat cleaver.

McNally’s father felt fear and was forced to defend himself from his son, and the defendant is then alleged to have proceeded to smash a window before running from the property.

When spoken to by police, McNally’s father said that he honestly feared for his safety.

Neighbours later claimed to have seen the defendant in the vicinity throwing objects, and a Buckfast bottle was located nearby.

Police later attended after a report of a fire; they located McNally nearby and he tried to evade officers by running away.

When handcuffed, a quantity of diazepam was found in the vicinity.

The defendant is alleged to have spat at officers and in the cell van upon his arrest.

Spittle is said to have landed on the face of one of the officers and, as a result, he had to attend Craigavon Area Hospital to obtain post-exposure prophylaxis tablets.

Prosecution stated that bail was being objected to due to fear of further offences and interference with the alleged injured party.

It was heard that McNally’s father had since made a withdrawal statement but a decision had been entered by the prosecution, with a previous allegation of attempted arson being removed.

Prosecution outlined that the defendant had 21 previous convictions, the most recent of which dated back to 2018 for which he received a three months sentence in the Crown Court.

The prosecutor stated: “There is a very unhappy history between the defendant and his father. The address which was put forward is a relatively recent development.

“This is with a 69-year-old with 124 previous convictions, albeit the last of these was a number of years ago.”

She added: “This defendant has issues with his health which are exacerbated by the taking of illegal substances. The person with whom he wishes to live also suffers from depression and schizophrenia.”

District Judge Amanda Brady commented: “He has spent the equivalent of a six month sentence on remand. The problem is that he may end up serving advance of what this court could give him.”

Defence barrister Michael Tierney stated: “Your worship has hit the point of delay already, his father has also made a withdrawal statement which deals with the first part of the case.

“However, it is accepted that the second part does not make good reading.”

He continued: “The last entry on his record is for offences of April 2016. It has been quite some time since he has committed any offence, but he has spent a significant time on remand.

“The address which has been provided was previously approved when bail was granted in March for another set of offences.”

Mr Tierney added: “This address is close to that of the injured party, but this is a man with mental health issues and there is a wider family circle in this area which would assist him in taking his medication.”

District Judge Brady stated: “This was a very unsavoury incident. There are obviously concerns for his fathers safety but he has served almost the equivalent of a seven month sentence.”

McNally was granted his own bail of £250 to reside at an address in Enniskeen, Craigavon.

Conditions of this included; to have no contact with his father and not to enter Drumellan Court, along with prohibitions on drugs and alcohol.

The case was then adjourned until July 20 for an update.

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