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Man accused of attempted murder refused bail as new ‘flatmate’ didn’t know who he was

Craigavon-Courthouse

A man accused of attempted murder has had a bail application turned down as the resident of his proposed address has claimed they do not know who he is.

Thomas Stokes, 30, of New Acres, Workingham, appeared at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, via video link from Maghaberry, on Friday charged with attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

He is accused of attempting to kill a man in Longford on January 30 as well as being in possession of an offensive weapon – a bill hook – on the M1 motorway in Portadown.

Defence Counsel stated that previously an address in England had been provided but this had been denied as there was a fear of the defendant evading the charges.

Therefore, a new bail address had been offered on this occasion for Stokes in north Belfast.

Police opposed this new address stating that the owner of the house did not reside there and had a lengthy criminal record in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England.

Court also heard that officers had gone to the house to speak to the tenant who said he was not aware of who Stokes was.

The resident, it was noted, also had a criminal record.

The defence argued the relevance of the character of who the defendant lives with, adding that the surety would ensure he stuck to his bail conditions.

They also questioned how his co-accused – Stokes’ brother – had been bailed to his home address in England.

“How can these two men, both with no violent record be treated in markedly different ways?”, the defence asked District Judge Bernie Kelly.

Defence counsel insisted that the new bail address was suitable and was far removed from any witnesses who were from the West of Ireland.

Judge Bernie Kelly declared that “the most basic component of any bail application is a police approved address”.

This she argued had not been supplied as the defendant’s proposed new “flatmate” was not informed that Stokes was going to be living with him.

Bail was formally refused and the case has been adjourned to May 18 as the prosecution await a full file.

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