TWO men have been remanded in custody after they were charged with murdering Carrickfergus businessman Simon Tang almost 16 years ago.
Carrickfergus men 38-year-old Paul Allen and George Robinson, 36, were charged at Belfast Magistrates Court and spoke only to confirm that they understood the charge against them.
A detective sergeant told the court he believed he could connect both Allen, from Drumhoy Drive, and Robinson, from The Hollies, to the murder.
Mr Tang, 28, who was married with two sons, was beaten and robbed as he left his takeaway business in the town on June 25, 1996.
The attackers stole his watch and less than £400 in cash. Mr Tang, an Oxford University graduate, was taken to hospital but died from his injuries. The case featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme in March.
Since then three people – two women and a man – have been charged with perverting the course of justice.
On Saturday Allen’s solicitor Paul Farrell launched a bail application to which police objected on the grounds of fear of witness interference.
Having confirmed that he had been involved in the investigation since the murder happened, the officer agreed the main evidence against Allen came from anonymous witnesses A and B.
He further agreed that witness A had come forward at the time and had made several statements but that witness B, through fear, had only come forward to make a statement in the last year that he saw Allen laugh when he heard someone make a comment of “Chinky b******”.
Mr Farrell put to him that Allen had given a “full account” during 20 interviews when initially arrested in 1996 and again since his arrest last Tuesday. The solicitor also put it to the detective sergeant that the accounts of both witnesses A and B were “replete with mistakes, inconsistencies, vagaries and ultimately confusion” but the officer refuted the suggestion.
Mr Farrell further suggested to the officer that with all the media attention and pressure associated with the case, the police were “embellishing the case ... and are trying to get the evidence to fit the theory”, but again the officer denied that.
In refusing the bail application and remanding the pair into custody to appear in court again on Wednesday, District Judge Amanda Henderson said she would view any potential bail applications if there were suitable addresses outside Carrick.