Two charged after kids injured in crash

Published Wednesday, 07 November 2012
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A high-speed car chase led to two men being arrested after a two-vehicle crash in which two children were injured, a court has heard.

Two charged after kids injured in crash
The men are charged to appear in court on Wednesday. (© UTV)

Patrick Harmon and Pearse Forgione were detained following a crime-spree which also involved a shopkeeper being stabbed and a car being stolen.

All of the alleged offences were committed in Belfast and Glenavy, Co Antrim over a one-hour period on Monday night.

Harmon, 28, of Cliftonpark Avenue, Belfast, and Forgione, 18, from Manor Close in the city, are both charged with aggravated vehicle taking causing injury.

Harmon is also accused of a further 16 offences, including two counts of robbery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, hijacking and possession of a knife.

Appearing on crutches at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday with his co-accused, he did not seek bail and was remanded in custody.

His lawyer stated: "He has accepted he got into the vehicle at the time of the crash but not the rest of the evening."

The car seized in Belfast later crashed into a vehicle in the Ballysillan area of the city, inflicting injuries to two young girls.

A number of robberies also form part of the same PSNI investigation.

A police officer opposed Forgione's application for bail, citing fears of possible retribution being taken against him.

She said: "This is a high-profile case reported by various media outlets.

"Children aged four and ten have been injured, requiring hospital treatment.

"Police would fear members of the community taking some form of action against the applicant."

Defence barrister John O'Connor told the court that rather than any confirmed threat, comments had been posted on Facebook.

He claimed the online messages were due to Forgione's girlfriend being a Protestant and the alleged offence taking place in a Protestant area.

Mr O'Connor said police have accepted his client was a passenger in the car, stressing that he was not charged in connection with any robberies.

He told the court it was claimed that Harmon began a car chase "off his own bat".

Mr O'Connor added: "There was no way for him (Forgione) to get out or escape until the high-speed crash occurred."

District Judge Mervyn Bates agreed to grant bail due to the teenager's age and alleged lack of control over the situation.

He ordered Forgione to have no contact with his co-accused and banned him from entering Glenavy or parts of north Belfast where the alleged offences occurred.

A night-time curfew and electronic monitoring conditions were also imposed.

Both accused will appear again in court in four weeks time.

© UTV News
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