Northern Ireland news

Boxer accused of breaking QIH director Kevin Lunney's nose to contest charges of assaulting two police officers

QIH executive Kevin Lunney

An amateur boxer accused of breaking Co Fermanagh businessman Kevin Lunney's nose is to contest charges of assaulting two police officers during his arrest, a court heard today.

Bernard McGovern's lawyer confirmed he intends to deny the allegations connected to his detention in September.

Up to five witnesses will now give evidence at a trial listed for hearing in Belfast early next year.

McGovern, 22, of Springtown Road in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, is facing extradition proceedings after being detained on a European Arrest Warrant.

He is wanted in the Republic of Ireland over claims he was involved in an attack on two Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executives at a service station in Co Cavan on February 1.

Previous courts were told Mr Lunney suffered a broken nose, while his colleague Dara O'Reilly had a cup of hot water poured onto his face.

McGovern is not accused of any role in subsequent, separate events on September 17 when Mr Lunney was abducted and tortured.

In that incident the businessman was beaten, stabbed and dumped by a roadside across the border in Co Cavan.

Mr Lunney is a director in a company made up of elements of the former business empire founded by ex-tycoon Sean Quinn Sr.

Mr Quinn, at one time Ireland's richest man, has repeatedly condemned any targeting of those now running QIH.

Attempts to have McGovern extradited are on hold pending the outcome of the case against him in Belfast.

He faces charges of assaulting two PSNI officers - one male and one female - and resisting police.

The alleged offences were committed on September 19 - when he was detained on the arrest warrant.

McGovern was not present for today's review hearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

A prosecution lawyer said body-worn footage of the alleged incident has been obtained and will be served on the defence "as soon as possible".

Pressed by District Judge Steven Keown, defence solicitor Michael Brentnall confirmed McGovern will be contesting the charges.

It was also set out that five witnesses, including the two injured parties, are expected to be called.

Adjourning proceedings, Mr Keown listed the case for trial on February 12.

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