Attempted murder charge man granted bail

Jonathan McCormac.  Photo Pacemaker Press
Jonathan McCormac. Photo Pacemaker Press

A Larne man accused of attempting to murder a family when shots were fired at a house as part of a feud has been granted bail to an address outside the town.

Jonathan Colin McCormac (30), of Wellington Green, had been on remand in custody for 15 days in relation to the charges and appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday September 28.

He faces ten charges including the attempted murder of ‘James and Aislinn Hassin and family’.

The family’s home in the Larne area was attacked in the early hours of the morning earlier this month and included a shot being fired at a bedroom window where three young children were asleep.

Shots were also fired into the hallway, and a car was set alight and destroyed. No-one was injured in the attack.

Arising out of the incident, McCormac was also charged with carrying a sawn-off shotgun with intent to commit an offence; hijacking a Volkswagen Bora car in Larne and aggravated taking and causing damage to the vehicle.

He was further charged in relation to other incidents including the attempted aggravated burglary of a house with intent to commit grievous bodily harm on Bill Russell at Ardnaglass Gardens, Antrim, relating to August 18 this year.

He was also charged with possessing a sledge hammer as an offensive weapon and causing criminal damage to a Volkswagen Golf car belonging to Mr Russell.

McCormac was also accused of offences relating to August 29 this year including causing criminal damage to a Peugeot Partner van belonging to Stephen Magill and was charged with causing criminal damage to a Vauxhall Zafira vehicle belonging to Kim Magill on the same date.

Also in relation to August 29, McCormac was accused of possessing hand tools as offensive weapons at Victoria Road, Larne.

At McCormac’s original hearing at Ballymena Magistrates Court on September 13, a police officer said there had been incidents in Larne in recent months “linked to ongoing tensions between loyalist paramilitaries and Mr Hassin”.

At that court, defence barrister Aaron Thompson said the case against his client was “circumstantial” and he added that a bail address outside of Larne was unavailable at that time.

Also at the original hearing, District Judge Peter King said the only prospect of McCormac getting bail would be an address well outside of Larne.

Two other men from the Larne area have subsequently been charged with attempted murder of the Hassins relating to the same case as McCormac and were given bail and banned from entering the town.

At Thursday’s Court, Aaron Thompson put forward an address outside of Larne for McCormac and a police officer said they were not objecting to the application.

McCormac was released on his own bail of £1,000 with a £5,000 surety and is banned from entering Larne or being within a mile radius of the home of the alleged injured parties.

He is to have no contact with the alleged injured parties or witnesses or co-accused or any future co-accused.

He has an 11pm-6am curfew and is to be electronically tagged.