Northern Ireland

Accused 'stabbed man in the head'

A man has appeared at Belfast High Court on Tuesday charged with attempted murder.

John Francis Finnegan, 26, of Clondara Street in the city, is accused of stabbing a 28-year-old man outside his home in February.

The court heard a man was stabbed in the back and head after going to the aid of two sisters during a row.

Mr Finnegan was granted bail to live outside Belfast on condition that he has no contact with witnesses.

The court heard violence flared after Mr Finnegan arrived home without his keys and broke a window in a bid to get inside.

Mr Finnegan is alleged to have argued with his girlfriend before her sister called her own partner to come and help.

The prosecution claimed the victim was stabbed three times in the back and once in the head with a knife taken from the kitchen.

He disclosed that the two sisters may no longer be willing to give evidence, but that the stabbed man has not made a withdrawal statement.

A defence lawyer said that eyewitness evidence suggested that the victim "struck the first blow" during the encounter.

He further claimed that the injured man, who was a neighbour, was banging on Mr Finnegan's door to gain entry.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Weatherup said it was fortunate the accused was not facing a murder charge, given the collapsed lung injury sustained.

He ordered Mr Finnegan to live at an address in Crumlin, imposed a night-time curfew, and excluded him from parts of west Belfast.