A man accused of setting a dog on a police officer in Belfast was bitten by the animal himself, a court heard yesterday.

Wayne McComb (19) has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm to a constable.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court was told police believe the alleged attack on Saturday was linked to continued tensions in Ballymurphy in the west of the city.

McComb, of Belfast, also faces two further charges of damaging or destroying windows on a house and car belonging to another man on the same date.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer who claimed he could connect him to the offences confirmed the allegation was that the defendant set the dog on the constable.

But defence lawyer Michael Madden insisted the animal involved was a stray. He said: “Mr McComb has instructed me that he was attacked by this dog. It wasn’t his dog.

“He received injuries, bite marks and scrab marks and had to be hospitalised for these injuries.”

McComb was released on bail totalling £850 and banned from entering Ballymurphy.