Crossbow murder bid accused refused bail

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A man accused of attempting to murder a police officer after allegedly firing a crossbow bolt at him has been refused bail.

Police discharged two shots in response to the incident, Ballymena Magistrates Court was told.

The details were revealed during a bail application on behalf of Barney Joyce (20), of Rathenraw, Antrim, who is charged with the attempted murder of a PSNI sergeant on May 11.

The court was told that police were called to a travellers’ site on that date following reports from a family member that Joyce - who police wanted to speak to in relation to outstanding court warrants - was acting aggressively.

Police who approached Joyce’s caravan observed a hatchet and called armed response officers to deal with the situation.

Police asked Joyce to exit the caravan and he emerged with a crossbow in his hand which he then aimed and fired in the direction of officers, the court heard.

Police responded by discharging two shots beside where Joyce was standing. A crossbow bolt was located behind where police were standing, it was said.

Opposing bail, a PSNI detective constable said she believed that Joyce would fail to surrender himself and would commit further offences.

The officer also alleged that while Joyce has been on remand in Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre, a family member had brought drugs to him in prison.

Barrister Aaron Thompson said: “It is my understanding that no witness sees the release of the bolt from the crossbow.”

He said that Joyce believed the bolt would not function in the crossbow and that it would have to be examined by a ballistics expert.

Mr Thompson said Joyce’s father had raised £1,500 to act as a surety in the event of his son’s release, adding: “He is investing every penny he has in Mr Joyce.”

Refusing bail, District Judge Des Perry said “I’m satisfied there is absolutely no delay in this case.”

He remanded Joyce in custody to appear at Antrim Crown Court this Tuesday, August 25, for committal proceedings for his case to be transferred to the Crown Court.