A man accused of attempting to murder a former leading loyalist in a barroom attack has been granted High Court bail.
Aaron Cahoon, 27, allegedly drove some members of a ten-strong gang to the pub in Doagh, Co Antrim where Darren Moore was beaten with an assortment of weapons last week.
The victim sustained multiple head fractures, facial lacerations and a puncture wound to his stomach after being battered with baseball bats, hammers, pickaxe handles and a bar stool, police said.
Cahoon, of Fairhill Gardens in Newtownabbey, is one three men charged with his attempted murder.
He denies any involvement in the attack or even knowing Moore.
Prosecution counsel Kate McKay told the court police believe Cahoon transported some of the men to McConnell’s Bar where the attack was carried out on March 15.
She confirmed, however, that CCTV footage does not show him taking any active role in the serious assault.
Moore, in his forties and formerly from the Mount Vernon area of Belfast, has been under loyalist paramilitary threat, according to investigating detectives.
They claim he was specifically targeted and that a risk to his life continues.
He has since been discharged from hospital to live at a secret location.
Although Moore was said to have named Cahoon as one of the men involved, a defence barrister insisted the accused was not present.
Dennis Boyd added: “His instructions to me are that he doesn’t know Moore.”
Mr Justice Burgess decided to grant bail after being informed of the victim’s current whereabouts.
He ordered Cahoon to abide by a curfew, electronic monitoring and banned him from leaving a defined area within Newtownabbey.
The judge also imposed a £2,000 cash surety and directed: “He is to have no contact with Darren Moore, those arrested by police or any witnesses in the case.”