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Love/Hate actor refused bail after being charged with €50,000 armed robbery

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Court: Clinch was refused bail
Court: Clinch was refused bail

LOVE/HATE actor Stephen Clinch has been refused bail after he was charged with having a role in a €50,000 armed robbery at a hotel in Dublin city-centre.

Dublin District Court heard a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol was allegedly put to the head of a security worker collecting cash and that it was claimed Mr Clinch later pointed the gun at another employee who gave chase.

During a bail hearing this evening, Judge Michael Walsh heard that ten hotel employees pursued and disarmed Mr Clinch before restraining him and an alleged accomplice until gardai arrived.

Stephen Clinch, 49, who was cast as recurring character “Noely” in the hit RTE series appeared at Dublin District Court today following his arrest on Monday morning.

Clinch, with an address at Millbrook Grove, Kilbarrack, Dublin and his co-accused Hugh McWeeney, 43, from from Main St, Belmayne, Malahide Rd, Dublin 17, were charged with robbery of €50,730 and possessing a firearm with intent to use in a robbery at the Gate Hotel on Parnell Street.

No pleas were entered and they will face their next hearing on May 20th at Cloverhill District Court. The court heard the offences can carry sentences of between 14 years and life.

Dressed in a white T-shirt, grey tracksuit bottoms and white runners, father-of-three Clinch pleaded to be released to take up offers of film work featuring musician Damien Dempsey and UFC fighter Conor “The Notorious” McGregor.

His partner and daughter were in court as he asked for bail but Judge Michael Walsh said he was refusing due to the seriousness of the case.

In a lengthy hearing, Gda Niall McCormack had objected to bail citing the seriousness of the incident. He said he was aware of Mr Clinch's acting work but he alleged the 49-year-old was caught “red handed”, had a €8,000 debt and was “a desperate man in a desperate situation”.

He said it was alleged a security guard had arrived at the hotel at 8.15am on Monday to collect cash.

Gda McCormack said the security guard was handed two bags of money and then “intercepted by two males in high visibility clothing, hats and white dust masks”.

Gda McCormack told Judge Walsh it was alleged a handgun was put to the head of the security guard and some €50,730 was robbed.

The court heard it was alleged two raiders exited via a fire escape but was pursued by one of the hotel workers and Clinch pointed the gun at him. The judge heard claims that the two raiders made their way through a beer garden leading to Cathal Brugha St.

The court heard they were then confronted by ten staff members and held until gardai got there.

Gda McCormack said the gun was allegedly removed from Mr Clinch and that it contained four bullets.

In his fictional role in Love/Hate Clinch, who is on social welfare, was infamously involved in a savage prison attack using a pool cue to attack Fran in the series finale. He also appeared in Darndale: The Edge of Town, a TV3 documentary series about life in the north Dublin suburb.

In his attempt to get bail, he gave evidence saying he has worked as an actor for the past eight years and that he would abide by any bail conditions set down by the court.

Clinch told his solicitor Jenny McGeever that he is in receipt of €188 a week from social welfare and acting work can be “fickle” but he has several offers.

His Love/Hate co-star, writer, actor, director John Connors told the court he has worked with Clinch for four years on film and television projects.

He has offered a lead role to Clinch in a film about clerical abuse which has been commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Film-maker Mark O'Connor told the court that he has worked with Clinch for years and has lined up a lead role part for him in a production which will also star singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey and mixed martial fighter Conor McGregor. “This is going to be his first lead role, so far he has been supporting characters”.

The co-defendant, Mr McWeeney,  from Main St, Belmayne, Malahide Rd, Dublin 17, did not address the court. His solicitor Noelle Kenny said he was not applying for bail.

Legal aid was granted after the court heard he is in receipt of social welfare.