Belfast Telegraph

Four to face trial over Bobby Tohill 'abduction'

By Ashleigh Wallace
06 October 2004

Four Belfast men accused of abducting Bobby Tohill from a city centre bar are to stand trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Liam Rainey, Thomas Tolan, Gerard McCrory and Harry Fitzsimmons did not speak and on one occasion refused to stand during a preliminary inquiry held in Belfast Magistrates Court today.

Their alleged victim sat with friends and relatives of the four accused in the public gallery.

Rainey, from New Barnsley Crescent, Tolan from Ballymurphy Parade, McCrory from Dermot Hill Road and Fitzsimmons from St James' Garden are each accused of unlawfully taking Mr Tohill against his will on February 20. They are also accused of assaulting and imprisoning Mr Tohill against his will and unlawfully and maliciously wounding him.

Philip Breen, the solicitor representing all four men, raised three matters with Magistrate Des Perry - including the fact that Mr Tohill had not made a statement of complaint.

He also said there was no medical evidence and no evidence of what took place in the bar prior to Mr Tohill leaving the premises.

Mr Perry said he had seen a video of the event of the incident and said he saw a man being taken forcibly from a pub and assaulted on the ground outside the pub.

He said: "He was bundled into a van and the van was seen to be rocking about. The van drives off and it is stopped a short time later and the four accused are arrested."

Opposing the accused being sent for trial, Mr Breen said kidnapping had to be shown to be by force against someone's will and while the video did show force, it could not be substantiated due to a lack of statement from Mr Tohill.

Mr Perry ordered that the four accused be returned from trial at Belfast Crown Court, adding: "I am satisfied there is a case to answer for each of the accused on each of the charges."

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