A SOLICITOR acting for a Ballymena man accused of assaulting two Sinn Fein members during a recent disturbance in the town’s Dunclug estate has said he has seen “more serious fights in a school yard”.

Ciaran Shiels was speaking as he made a successful bail application on behalf of client Ciaran McGill at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

McGill (21) was released on his own bail of £500, with two similar sureties, to appear at the same court on September 11.

A charge of affray against McGill has also been withdrawn. He is charged with assaulting assembly member Daithi McKay and community worker Padraig McShane, along with a further charge of disorderly behaviour, relating to trouble which flared in the estate recently.

North Antrim MLA Mr McKay and Dunclug Residents’ Association chairman Mr McShane sustained minor injuries after being set upon outside the home of a community worker.

Mr Shiels said there was no risk of his client interfering with the alleged assault victims, both of whom live outside the Ballymena area, adding: “There is clear blue water between himself and the two alleged injured parties.

“He (McGill) wanted to apply for bail in circumstances where any perceived tensions have passed,” the solicitor added.

District Judge Richard Wilson acceded to the bail application subject to “significant restrictions on his (McGill’s) personal freedom”.

The defendant will be subject to a curfew between 8pm and 7am and will report to Ballymena police three times per week.

He was also ordered to have no contact, either directly or indirectly, with alleged injured parties or witnesses in the case.