mugging charge | 

Lisburn man allegedly ‘stole £200 from pensioner’ and ‘threw his walking stick away’

Damien Smith (53) was denied bail

Damien Smith

Paul HigginsBelfast Telegraph

A man has appeared in Lisburn Magistrates Court accused of mugging an 84-year-old along with an accomplice this past weekend.

According to the pensioner, Damien Gerard James Smith (53), from Tonagh Drive in Lisburn, stole his wallet after his alleged accomplice “pushed him against the wall and threw his walking stick away” at the Derriaghy train halt.

Appearing via video-link from police custody, Smith was charged with robbing £200 from the man on Sunday, August 14, and assaulting a civilian detention officer.

The court heard that shortly before 5pm police received a report that a man in his 80s had been assaulted after exiting a train at the Derriaghy halt in Lisburn.

An officer told the court she believed she could connect Smith to the charge and that police were objecting to him being freed on bail.

She outlined how the alleged victim first encountered Smith and another man at Great Victoria Street station and he was invited to sit with the pair as the train left for Lisburn.

At one stage, the man with Smith, who was wearing a pink tracksuit, produced a silver tin from his pocket, but the elderly man recognised it as his property and challenged him.

The tin was handed over but the pensioner also realised that his smartphone was missing and accused Smith and the other man of taking it, which they denied.

The conductor ordered the three men to get off at the Derriaghy halt, and as the 84-year-old was walking along the disabled ramp the unknown male “grabbed him from behind, threw his walking stick away and held him over the railings”, while Smith allegedly “went through his pockets and took his wallet”.

The officer said £200 was removed from the wallet which was then “thrown back at him” and the men left, adding that while there was CCTV footage, it did not capture the incident.

A short time later, Smith called the police to report that he had witnessed a robbery. However, he was arrested and admitted that he was with another man, but said he took no part in the offence.

He claimed he had gone to Belfast to bring his friend back to his house to look after him. He said that although he had shared a prison cell with the man, he did not know his full name.

Police also outlined that, while in the custody suite, Smith became aggressive, had to be restrained and “attempted to bite an officer on the forearm”.

Objecting to bail, the officer said there was a fear that Smith “is a danger to the public” and was concerned that he would interfere with the witness or investigation given that there is another suspect still at large.

Under cross-examination from defence counsel Damien Halleron, the officer agreed that the CCTV footage shows an altercation, which Smith is not involved in, but not an actual robbery.

She told the barrister the police are investigating to see if other footage is available and also intend to take statements from the Translink staff member who was on the train.

Despite submissions from the defence that Smith could be released with stringent conditions, District Judge Rosie Watters said she “has a duty to protect the public”.

He was remanded into custody and the case was adjourned to September 12.

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