Robbery suspect who jumped bail four years is arrested while trying to visit sick sister
Ginoi Muntean was charged in 2018 in connection with a robbery at an antiques shop in Portrush
A suspected armed robber who jumped bail in Northern Ireland four years ago is back behind bars.
Ginoi Muntean was charged in 2018 in connection with a robbery at an antiques shop in Portrush – but did a runner to the Republic when released on bail.
However, the 26-year-old’s luck finally ran out last week when he was arrested at a Northern Ireland ferry terminal as he was travelling to England to visit his sister who has cancer.
Muntean and a 16-year-old boy were charged with stealing jewellery from Dunluce Street Antiques shop in Portrush on November 16, 2018.
Muntean was also charged with possessing a knife with intent to commit robbery.
Police said at the time that no one was injured during the robbery.
Muntean, who is believed to be originally from Romania, and his co-accused appeared before Ballymena Magistrates Court a few days after the robbery.
They were both remanded in custody.
However, after several months on remand, Muntean was released on bail.
As part of his bail conditions, he was required to live at an address in Northern Ireland but did not do so.
However, police finally caught up with him at the ferry terminal last week.
After being arrested, he was brought before Coleraine Magistrates Court.
Muntean’s solicitor told the court the defendant was married with two young children and lives in Tipperary.
The solicitor said Muntean spent four months on remand in connection with the Portrush robbery before being granted bail.
After being released on bail, the solicitor said Muntean claimed he had “heard nothing else about the case” and thought he had been sentenced and the proceedings were “effectively over”.
“So, what has happened thereafter, is that his sister who resides in England is unfortunately ill with cancer,” the solicitor said.
“So, he set off travelling to England to visit her and was promptly arrested at the ferry.”
The solicitor said Muntean’s wife and sister are in England and are trying to secure a Northern Ireland address for him.
“Whether that will significantly impact his prospects of bail I simply don’t know.
“But at this point of time I only have his address in the Republic of Ireland where he resides with his wife and two children.”
The judge said that in terms of Muntean being again released on bail, the court would require a “very significant cash surety”.
“He was uncontactable very quickly after being released,” the judge said.
“Given the history of this case, there is no guarantee that this court will be persuaded again to grant bail.
“I granted bail once before and as a result of that he has been uncontactable for the best part of two and a half years coming up to three years.
“So, I will have to take that into consideration.”
The judge added: “This is a case where there is a multi-jurisdictional element to this. We have the police in England, the police here and the police in the Republic involved in this case.
“Mr Muntean is very mobile and again that is an issue that is going to have to be addressed before bail is granted.”
The solicitor said the proposed bail package would not just include a Northern Ireland address for Muntean.
“I propose a bail package that would include other elements that might be able to in some way address the court’s concerns, but I would not be in a position to advance that matter today,” he said.
“I was anticipating a significant cash surety, surrender of travel documents and possibly even his wife’s travel documents as well.”
Muntean was remanded in custody to appear before the court again next week for a bail application.
During the hearing, a representative for the Public Prosecution Service said the teenager charged along with Muntean in connection with the 2018 Portrush robbery had also “absconded” after being released on bail.