Man on murder rap granted bail for christening

Man on murder rap granted bail for christening

8 August 2018

AN Ardglass man accused of murdering a Romanian-born fisherman in a “brutal attack in broad daylight” was granted bail to attend a family christening last Sunday.

Just 24 hours before his successful High Court application, Jason Carr (20), of Castle Heights, had been refused the eight-hour compassionate leave at Downpatrick Court after police expressed concern about the possible intimidation of witnesses at the church 

service and the accused’s “potential for flight”.

Prosecutors at the High Court on Friday said that the murdered man, Stefan Zait (45), also from Ardglass, had been kicked in the head as he sought refuge in an unprovoked and fatal assault.

Carr is in custody for the alleged murder of Mr Zait outside a property at Lighthouse Grove in the village on May 22.

He denies charges of murder and attempted burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm to the fisherman.

The High Court heard that Carr had been involved in an earlier altercation at Mr Zait’s Crew Hill Court home before the fatal attack.

A prosecutor said that Mr Zait did not fight back but it was claimed that Carr followed him and continued the attack in a garden outside the Lighthouse Cove property.

Witness accounts claim that Carr punched Mr Zait with both fists about the head more than five times.

“The injured party didn’t fight back, became unsteady on his feet and then fell to the ground,” a prosecutor told the High Court.

“What seems to have done severe damage was a deliberate step back noted by witnesses and then a kick to the face, described as powerful, when he was prostrate on the ground”. 

It was claimed that the accused inflicted further blows on Mr Zait before he lost consciousness.

The prosecutor added that several witnesses saw the unprovoked attack on Mr Zait and say he never fought back once.

Witnesses claim they saw Carr driven away from the scene and heard him shouting profanities at him.

Mr Zait was said to have been semi-conscious when paramedics came to his aid and was able to tell them his name before he lost conscious again. He died two days later in hospital from head injuries, including a blood clot to the brain and a suspected fractured jaw.

Granting Carr compassionate leave to attend the christening of two young relatives, Mr Justice McCloskey was told of the recent death of Carr’s younger brother. He said he granted the bail under tight conditions on a “marginal decision”.

Mr Justice McCloskey acknowledged both the tragedy suffered by Carr’s family and the “appalling death” of Mr Zait who, on the prosecution case, was an entirely innocent victim of a brutal, vicious and sustained assault.

Carr’s lawyer, Sean Doherty, stressed his client had not previously applied for bail so that Mr Zait’s family can grieve in peace.