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Sunday 11 December 2016

Love/Hate robbery accused Stephen Clinch 'a desperate man', judge is told

Stephen Clinch
Stephen Clinch

A LOVE/HATE star accused of armed robbery had an €8,000 debt and was a "desperate man in a desperate situation", a court has heard.

Stephen Clinch (49) is alleged to have pointed a loaded gun at a hotel employee after allegedly robbing him of more than €50,000.

He is accused of carrying out the robbery with an accomplice while bags of cash were being handed over to a security man on Monday.

Both men were chased and held at the scene by 10 hotel employees before being arrested, Dublin District Court was told.

Judge Michael Walsh refused to grant Mr Clinch bail after gardai objected and alleged that he was "caught red-handed". The judge remanded him in custody for a week.

Mr Clinch's Love/Hate co-star John Connors gave evidence on his behalf.

Both Mr Clinch, a father-of-three from Millbrook Grove, Kilbarrack and a co-accused Hugh McWeeney (43), of Main Street, Belmayne, Malahide Road, Dublin 17 are charged with robbing a man of €50,730 at The Gate Hotel, Parnell Street on Monday morning.

They are also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to commit a robbery.

Mr McWeeney did not apply for bail.

Objecting to bail in Mr Clinch's case, Garda Niall McCormack said a security firm employee arrived at around 8.15am to collect cash.

He was intercepted by two men dressed in high-visibility clothing with hats and white dust masks.

raiders

A handgun was pointed at his head as he was handing two cash bags to a hotel employee, Garda McCormack alleged.

The bags were taken and the two raiders exited via a fire escape, pursued by the employee.

Mr Clinch allegedly pointed the gun at the hotel employee in a stairwell, the garda said.

The pair made their way to a beer garden at the rear where they were confronted by 10 hotel staff members, the garda continued.

The stolen cash was then taken from Mr Clinch, as well as a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol containing four bullets, it was alleged.

Applying for bail, Mr Clinch's solicitor, Jenny McGeever, said he enjoyed a presumption of innocence and the evidence given was only proposed evidence.

Ms McGeever said the accused was in receipt of €188 in social welfare but had worked as a successful actor for the past eight years.

Mr Clinch said in evidence that he had been "involved in drama" and would work four to five months per year.

He said if granted bail he would abide by "whatever conditions are put on me".

Asked if he would describe himself as being in a desperate situation because of a debt, he said: "You could say that, yeah."

He said he was hoping to pay off the debt through upcoming acting work. Mr Clinch accepted that the work was "on and off" but said "when it's on, it's really good".

Filmmaker Mark O'Connor said he was developing a film at the moment in which Mr Clinch was due to have his first lead role after previously playing supporting roles. This film was due to feature Damien Dempsey and UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

Actor John Connors, who played Patrick Ward in Love/Hate, said he had scripted a film in which Mr Clinch was due to play the lead role.

Mr Clinch's partner and daughter were also in court to support him.

Mr Clinch's Love/Hate character was depicted taking part in a savage jail assault in which a pool cue was used to attack Fran in the final episode of the RTE series.

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