Twenty masked men stormed a Belfast bar to issue threats to five people for alleged anti-social behaviour, a court heard today.
Stools were overturned, two men punched and patrons cornered inside the Mount Inn on North Queen Street, in north Belfast’s Tigers Bay area, during the “show of strength”, police claimed.
A judge was told a list of names was read out and warnings issued that their alleged activities would not be tolerated.
Details emerged as three men appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court accused of being part of the crowd who went into the pub on Wednesday night.
David Majury, 47, of Church Green in Holywood, Co Down; Christopher Moore, 25, of Woodvale Drive; and Andrew Morrow, 25, of Hopewell Crescent – both in Belfast – are jointly charged with affray and unlawful assembly.
A detective claimed they were in the group who arrived in a convoy of vehicles at the pub.
“It would appear a show of strength was made when a crowd of masked men stormed the bar,” she said.
CCTV footage shows customers being directed into a corner before the message was delivered, the court heard.
The detective added: “The address was about anti-social behaviour and how it would not be tolerated. They named five names and said these people were under threat.”
Two men allegedly punched during the incident have not made any complaint, and none of the three accused are charged with any assault on them.
According to police Majury, Moore, and Morrow left with scarves and hoods up and got into a car together.
When the vehicle was stopped and searched one balaclava was said to have been recovered from under the driver’s seat.
Defence lawyers unsuccessfully argued that there was insufficient evidence to connect their clients to the charges.
Barrister Mark Farrell, representing Morrow, contended: “Mere presence at a crime scene is not enough.
“The Crown have been unable to identify with any precision what my client is alleged to have done.”
Despite similar submissions on behalf of Majury and Moore, District Judge Fiona Bagnall ruled there was enough for a connection to the alleged offences.
She granted bail to all three defendants on conditions including a ban on contacting their co-accused or any witnesses.
Excluding them from part of Belfast surrounding the bar, she stressed: “I expect that to be a broad area.”
The accused are due back in court again in eight weeks.