Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Father and son linked to Traveller feud denied bail

 A father and son accused of an attack linked to an ongoing feud between two families have been denied bail due to the risk of further offences.

Charlie Ward Sr (50) and 25-year-old Charlie Patrick Martin Ward face charges connected to a violent incident in Meigh, Newry earlier this month.

During a High Court hearing last week, the court heard that a machete and a hook were allegedly found under the beds of the two men in a search of their home in O’Donoghue Park, Bessbrook. 

Outlining the incident in Meigh, prosecutors said a van was attacked on October 15th at Bearna Park.  A young child was inside the van at the time.

Windows on another vehicle were smashed during the same incident and some witnesses claim the Wards were present at the scene.

Both men face counts of hijacking, affray, arson, criminal damage and possessing a hook and machete.

The charges were said to be related to an ongoing feud within the Travelling community in the area.  The feud is connected to a shooting incident in Forkhill on October 15th although neither of the Wards is accused of any involvement in that shooting.

Oppposing their applications for bail, a Crown lawyer claimed tensions remain high among the rival Traveller families.

“It’s possible some form of retribution may be considered,” she said.  “The victims in this case have been warned against such actions, but police do have significant concerns.”

Defence barrister Justin Byrne stressed both of the Wards deny being present at the Bearna Park attack.  He added that other witnesses who know his clients have not claimed they were involved.

Detaling the case against the father and son, including identification evidence, Mr Justice McAlinden said: “The other linking feature is the find of the hook and machete under the mattresses of these two defendants.”

Bail was refused due to the risk of any further offences.

The judge pointed out: “The court takes significant regard to the fact that since these two individuals and another individual have been remanded in custody it appears there have been no further incidents involving these two families.”