Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 14:33 UK

'Racist motive' in Pole's murder

Forensic investigators at the murder scene in July 2009
Marek Muszynski's body was found in a laneway at Upper Edward Street

A Polish man was kicked about the head and had his throat stamped on during a suspected race-hate murder in Newry.

The claim was made in the High Court in Belfast during a challenge to grant bail to the teenager accused of killing Marek Muszynski.

Adrian Cunningham, 19, from Lisgullion Park, Newry, faces a charge of murdering Mr Muszynski at Upper Edward Street in the city in July 2009.

The challenge to bail failed, but the the bail conditions were tightened.

Prosecutors said Mr Muszynski, 40, was confronted by two men after leaving an off-licence and taken to an alleyway after they told him a suspicious car was following him.

It was alleged that he was knocked to the ground, beaten and robbed of some small change before his trousers were pulled down.

The court heard that after the fatal attack, Mr Cunningham, then bought drink and a takeaway meal to eat at a flat where he changed his clothing.

Emotions

A district judge granted him bail on Wednesday but on Friday the prosecution mounted a High Court appeal, claiming he may flee or be targeted for possible reprisals because emotions are still running high.

Crown counsel Gareth Purvis said: "Police would say this was an extremely violent, unprovoked and also, they believe, racially motivated attack."

He told the court the victim had been a vulnerable man who depended on a local soup kitchen for food.

A judge was told Mr Cunningham, who is charged along with two other men allegedly stood on the victim's throat with one foot and lifted his other leg so all the weight bore down on him.

According to the prosecution Mr Muszynski's head was kicked and bounced about from side to side.

Sociology

"Police are regarding this incident as a hate crime, purely because of the applicant's admissions of racial taunts made at the scene," Mr Purvis added.

Remarks allegedly shouted included: "Go back to your own country, you're not wanted in Ireland."

A defence lawyer claimed his client, represented the "most unlikely criminal".

He said Mr Cunningham hoped for a career in hairdressing and had undertaken a foundation degree in sociology while on remand.

The accused's father, a senior civil servant, gave evidence to stress how the family would monitor him if granted bail.

Upholding the original decision to release Mr Cunningham on bail, Lord Justice Girvan said that none of the prosecution's objections to bail could be sustained.

However, he imposed further conditions, including requirements for any passports to be surrendered and for Mr Cunningham to live with his parents.

He was also banned from going within half a mile of a city centre bar where witnesses in the case were located.



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