Northern Ireland

Brothers facing £100,000 kidnapping charges granted bail

File photo dated 07/11/2022 of the crest of the Royal Courts of Justice where the High Court and the Court of Appeal sit in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
(Liam McBurney/PA)

Two farming brothers accused of kidnapping a man and ordering him to hand over £100,000 are to be released from custody, a High Court judge ruled on Friday.

Padraig and Connor Casey were granted bail over allegations they beat and abducted the victim from his home in Silverbridge, Co Armagh before dousing him in disinfectant and demanding the payment.

Both defendants deny any involvement in the attack said to have been launched in the Carnally Road area on February 17.

Padraig Casey, 44, from Drumalt Road in Cullyhanna, and Connor Casey, 39, of Carrickbroad Road in Newry, are jointly charged with kidnapping, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and blackmail.

Prosecutors claim the alleged victim was subjected to a prolonged assault, bundled into a vehicle and taken to an unknown location, potentially across the border.

He was then beaten again and had disinfectant poured over him.

During the attack his abductors demanded that he give them £10,000 that night and a further £90,000 by the end of the week, according to the charges.

Police later located the man and took him to hospital for treatment to facial injuries which reportedly included fractured eye sockets and cheekbones.

Padraig and Connor Casey were arrested after being named as being among the alleged assailants.

Their barrister, Sean Mullan, argued that the complainant was unreliable and insisted there was no evidence linking the brothers to any attempt to blackmail him.

Counsel also told the court his clients had contacted police earlier on February 17 to report the injured party over a motoring incident while they were travelling in their tractor.

Setting out an alleged sequence of events following that phone call, he claimed it was “suspicious” that sheds used by the Caseys were set on fire before the kidnapping allegations were made against them.

“There is no forensics connecting the Caseys to any disinfectant,” Mr Mullan submitted.

Granting bail to the two accused, Mr Justice Huddleston banned them from going near the alleged victim’s home and imposed an exclusion zone to keep them away from livestock sales in Crossmaglen.

The judge added: “I’m concerned there are issues going on here which we are only skimming the surface of.”