Tohill accused may have 'blacked out'

Published Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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A man accused of cutting the throat of prominent republican Bobby Tohill may have suffered a blackout, the High Court has heard.

Tohill accused may have 'blacked out'
Multiple neck and body wounds were inflicted on Mr Tohill during the stabbing. (© UTV)

Thomas Valliday, 59, was on medication and drinking three litres of vodka a week at the time of the alleged knife attack in west Belfast.

A total of four people were injured during an outbreak of violence on 15 March last year.

Valliday, from Clonard Place in the city, denies charges of attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon in public and assault on police.

Multiple neck and body wounds were inflicted on Mr Tohill during the stabbing at a Falls Road bar.

Police were told his throat had been cut, but he had left the scene by the time they arrived, the court heard.

A prosecution barrister said: "Mr Tohill had flagged down a motorist who brought him to the Royal Victoria Hospital for emergency surgery which appears to have saved his life."

He has since withdrawn his statement of complaint, but is still to be summonsed to give evidence in the case.

Police have linked the stabbing to a possible disagreement or feud between Mr Tohill and Valliday, a judge was told.

Meanwhile, officers followed the trail of blood and encountered street fighting a short distance away.

One man suffered a head injury while a woman was said to have been punched and knocked out.

Valliday was arrested and had to be handcuffed due to his aggression, it was claimed.

The prosecution barrister added: "During interview he said he had no memory (of the incident) because he was an alcoholic and on a large amount of medication.

"He said he drank three litres of vodka a week mixed with his medication."

Valliday is on bail, but was seeking to lift a prohibition on entering part of west Belfast so that he can return to his family home.

Defence counsel Declan Quinn stressed that his client was not carrying a knife when arrested.

He also said there was no suggestion of any pressure being put on the alleged victim to withdraw his statement.

"Mr Tohill has in the past made no secret that he stands up to various members of the community," the barrister said.

"He has not hidden in terms of making allegations, but in this particular case he has indicated he is not co-operating with police."

Mr Quinn also set out his client's position in having no memory of what happened.

"He raised the possibility that he had suffered a blackout, whilst maintaining his innocence."

However, Mr Justice Stephens refused to vary bail in a case involving what he described as "almost total violence and major disorder".

He ruled that it was insufficient to produce a year-old medical report to support claims Valliday is now completely teetotal.

© UTV News
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