No bail for armed robbery suspect

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A Lisburn man accused of taking part in an armed robbery at a Maghera filling station earlier this year was said in court to have worked at the business for a year.

Benjamin Mark Hagan (22) of Moss Road, Lambeg, is accused of robbing the filling station of £1,500 in cash and £300 in cigarettes.He is also charged with having a firearm or imitation firearm to commit the offence on February 5.

District Judge Nigel Broderick deniedHagan’s bail application at Magherafelt Magistrates Court as he believed there was a risk of further offending.

Defence counsel said there was nothing relevant against Hagan, who had not breached exisiting bail conditions; an address was available to him at Coagh and he would abide a court order barring him from entering Maghera.

Opposing bail, a police detective said two males in balaclavas had entered the filling station and pointed guns at staff before making off with cash and cigarettes; a staff member followed the getaway car to Knockloughrim school before abandoning the chase.

He said Hagan had been questioned in relation to the robbery on February 18 but was released after denying any involvement; he was arrested again at his Lisburn address in connection with the matter and phones were seized during a search of the house. He said Hagan told police he was not guilty.

However, the detective said analysis of the phones linked Hagan with a co-accused and latex gloves found where the getaway vehicle was burned out near Toomebridge showed a full DNA profile of the defendant; when these matters were put to Hagan he declined to give an account for them.

He added that police believed there was a “significant risk” of the accused re-offending if released on bail. The firearms used in the robbery had not been recovered, he said, and Hagan was on bail in connection with aJune 19 incident at Tiger’s Bay - in which a man sustained grievous bodily harm when attacked by men with baseball bats - and with disorderly behaviour in Lisburn on August 29.

In response to the judge, the detective said it was believed Hagan drove the getaway car used in the filling station robbery, in respect of which police would soon be questioning a third suspect.

Judge Broderick remanded Hagan in custody to appear again by videolink on October 14. He told him he could make a bail application to the High Court.

Hagan’s co-accused Brian David Dean (48), of Glenrosa Street, Belfast, charged with robbery, and possessing a firearm and ammunition without a certificate, was also remanded in custody until October.