Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 15:26 UK

Neighbour 'attacked with sword'

High Court, Belfast
Rodney Barnes appeared at the High Court in Belfast on Tuesday

A man put on a motorcycle helmet before attacking his neighbour with a samurai-type sword, the High Court has heard.

Rodney Barnes, 23, was accused of stabbing the man in the foot in Cookstown in May.

Prosecution claimed Mr Barnes, who now lives in Dhu Varren South, Portrush, swung the sword at the man, who had just returned from a family wedding.

Mr Barnes denied using the sword, and claimed he was assaulted by up to 10 people. Bail in the case was refused.

He is charged with grievous bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon.

A prosecution barrister told the court that the victim said he had got out a car outside his house when he was confronted by Mr Barnes, who was wearing a helmet.

"He seemed to ask if the car was an illegal taxi.

"When he was told it wasn't he became aggressive and removed the motorcycle helmet," the lawyer said.

A scuffle then began, and the victim felt a sharp pain in his foot.

He later discovered it was bleeding heavily, and had to have 12 stitches in one of the wounds.

Mr Barnes was arrested returning to Northern Ireland on the Stranraer-Larne ferry.

"He claimed he had received death threats in Portrush and had a shotgun cartridge posted through his front door.

"He claimed he threw the shotgun cartridge into the sea and it's not available," the prosecution said.

A defence barrister said her client maintained he was set upon by a group of people, one of whom produced the sword.

She said Mr Barnes suffered from depression and alcohol problems, but had decided to return from England to face the charges.

"He does not accept these matters as he has been charged with," she said.

Refusing bail, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said the public was entitled to be protected from the behaviour alleged against the accused.

"If the Crown case is right this is a man who armed himself with a sword, put on a motorcycle helmet and, if the Crown case is right, then terrorised his neighbour by use of the sword."

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