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Saturday 3 December 2016

Love/Hate actor sips pint while on bail for armed robbery charge

Stephen Clinch who starred as Noely in Love/Hate pictured leaving court
Stephen Clinch who starred as Noely in Love/Hate pictured leaving court

Love/Hate star and armed robbery accused Stephen Clinch was enjoying a pint in Dublin city centre following his latest court appearance after he was released on bail.

Mr Clinch left Dublin District Court late yesterday morning and was in Mother Kelly's pub on Talbot Street in the afternoon, having a pint of Guinness with pals. Outside the pub, friends and well-wishers shook the well-known actor's hand as he spoke on the phone.

Mr Clinch (49) had earlier heard in the city's court complex that a book of evidence will be served on him in a week's time, when he will be sent for trial over the alleged €50,000 robbery at a hotel bar in May this year.

At the time, he was refused bail in the District Court but was later granted bail at the High Court, and is understood to have taken it up in recent weeks.

The father of three is accused of pointing a loaded gun at a hotel worker after allegedly robbing him.

He allegedly carried out the robbery with an accomplice while bags of cash were being handed over to a security man.

His case was adjourned when he appeared in the District Court yesterday.

Mr Clinch from Millbrook Grove, Kilbarrack, who played 'Noely' in the hit RTE series, is charged with robbery at The Gate Hotel, Parnell Street, on May 11. He is also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to commit a robbery.

Defence solicitor Jenny McGeever told Judge Grainne O'Neill the case was due for the service of a book of evidence so Mr Clinch could be sent for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The book of evidence was available, but she said the person standing as independent surety for Mr Clinch's bail was not present, as required.

"We didn't anticipate the book being here today," Ms McGeever said.

Judge O'Neill granted the adjournment to a date next week.

There was no objection by the prosecution.

A co-accused, Hugh McWeeney (43), of Main Street, Belmayne, Malahide Road, is currently before the courts on the same charges.

The DPP has directed trial on indictment on all counts.

At Mr Clinch's bail hearing in May, Garda Niall McCormack said it was alleged a security guard had arrived at the hotel at 8.15am on a Monday to collect cash.

Gda McCormack said the security guard was handed two bags of money and was then "intercepted by two males in high-visibility clothing, hats and white dust masks".

It was alleged a handgun was put to the head of the security guard while two plastic cash bags were being handed to him, and some €50,730 was taken.

The court heard it was alleged two raiders exited via a fire escape but were pursued by one of the hotel workers - and Clinch pointed the gun at him in a stairwell.

According to the prosecution, the two raiders made their way through a beer garden at the rear of the premises, leading to Cathal Brugha St.

The employee who had been robbed alerted colleagues and the two raiders were confronted by 10 hotel staff members, the garda continued.

Viable

The pair were held until gardai got there and arrested them. Gda McCormack said the gun was allegedly removed from Mr Clinch and that it contained four bullets.

On examination, the pistol was found to be a viable firearm, Garda McCormack said.

Ms McGeever said at the time the accused was in receipt of €188 in social welfare but had worked as a successful actor for the last eight years. Mr Clinch's Love/Hate co-star John Connors gave evidence on his behalf during the lengthy District Court bail hearing in May.

In his fictional role in Love/Hate, Clinch's character was infamously involved in a savage prison attack using a pool cue to assault Fran in the series finale.

He also appeared in Darndale: The Edge of Town, a TV3 documentary series about life in the north Dublin suburb.

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