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Portrush jewellery robbery accused is released on bail

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BT Coleraine

A 22-year-old man who is one of two people charged in connection with an armed robbery in which jewellery was stolen from a shop in Portrush in November has been released on bail after spending almost four months in custody on remand.

Gioni Muntean, whose bail address is at Bennett Street in Derry/Londonderry, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court via video link from prison on Monday.

He is charged with robbing Dunluce Street Antiques of jewellery and faces a second charge of possessing an offensive weapon – a knife – with intent to commit robbery.

The court heard he had links to addresses in the Republic of Ireland and Yorkshire and that police in England had been trying to find the defendant but thought he was in Romania.

A defence lawyer said Muntean had now a bail address with a “family friend” in Northern Ireland and that his client had spent almost four months in custody.

Muntean’s father and brother were in court and handed in a cash surety of £2,000.

The defendant was released on his own bail of £750 along with the £2,000 surety to the address in the north west.

He has a 9pm-8am curfew; will be electronically tagged; has to sign daily with police and is banned from entering Portrush.

The case was adjourned to April 8.

A co-accused – who was 16 when he first appeared at court last year and cannot be named because of his age – faces the same two charges. He was previously given bail.

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