TWO Fintona brothers have been remanded in custody following an assault in the town on Friday night that has left a man partially blind in one eye.
Ryan McGlinchey (36) and his brother James McGlinchey (18), both of Mill Street, Fintona, appeared at a special court in Omagh on Saturday morning.
A police witness told the court the brothers chased two men through the town when armed with a hatchet and an iron bar.
James McGlinchey was seen on CCTV striking the injured party 25 times with the iron bar.
Ryan McGlinchey was seen hitting him five times with the hatchet.
Police went to Fintona after a 999 call. They found the injured party at Craigavon Road bleeding heavily from his head and hands.
“He was very intoxicated and initially not very co-operative,” a police witness said.
One of the man’s eyes was ruptured and it was said he is likely to lose the sight in it. At best he will be able to see light and dark. The eye may ultimately have to be removed.
A second man being chased hid in a hedge. He told police he could hear his friend screaming in pain.
During the altercation, Ryan McGlinchey’s pregnant girlfriend was seen running from the house and trying to restrain the brothers.
The police witness said James McGlinchey was particularly distinctive on CCTV footage “in that he has not got a top on and is wearing tracksuit bottoms. Both defendants are well known to police and police were well able to recognise them.”
Given the seriousness of the assault, police called in an armed response unit. They arrested the McGlinchey brothers in their home.
The witness said there was a history of antagonism between Ryan McGlinchey and the injured party.
In a statement, Ryan McGlinchey said “his girlfriend told him the two were outside singing Republican songs.”
She added that Ryan McGlinchey has 172 previous convictions. “His offending spans all aspects of criminality, including kidnapping,” the witness said.
“He is associating with criminal peers in the Fintona area. This offence was committed when both defendants were on Crown Court bail on another matter.”
Applying for bail, a defence solicitor said there was an element of provocation.
Refusing bail, Judge John Meehan said, “Two people at night on the street using a hatchet and iron bars – that is not relevant.”
He remanded the brothers in custody to appear at Omagh Magistrates Court on today.