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Court date set for manslaughter charges against Greenvale Hotel owner and security officer

Cookstown Greenvale Hotel deaths
Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard (both 17) and Connor Currie, 16 died as a result of the incident on St Patrick’s Day 2019

A court date has been set for the owner of the Greenvale Hotel and a self-employed member of security staff in relation to alleged manslaughter and health and safety failings.

Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard, both 17, and Connor Currie, 16, died as a result of a crush involving hundreds of people queued to enter the hotel on St Patrick’s Day 2019.

Court papers show Michael McElhatton (55) of Rock Road Moneymore and Seamus Mitchell (44) of Mullan Road, Coagh are jointly charged with killing the three teenagers.

As a director of the company Tobin Limited, McElhatton is further charged with failing to conduct an undertaking as an employer to ensure that non-employed persons were not exposed to health and safety risks, and that the said failure occurred due to an act of default.

Mitchell, meanwhile, is accused of being a self-employed person who failed to ensure persons were not exposed to risk.

Tobin Limited, with an address of Drum Road, Cookstown is accused of the same charge as an employer.

The case is listed for a committal hearing at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on December 2, and while this is generally for the purpose of returning matters for trial, it’s not clear if that will occur as the defence have the right to challenge some or all prosecution evidence and witnesses.

If that occurs, matters will proceed by way of Preliminary Investigation (PI) whereby disputed evidence is heard by a judge who will decide if the case is halted or returned to crown court.

In September it was disclosed files were submitted to the Public Prosecution Service by police in respect of 11 people.

The Police Ombudsman reported five police officers.

Following consideration it was decided not top prosecute the remaining nine individuals or the five police officers.

In a statement at the time the decision was made, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “The PSNI acknowledges the decision taken in respect of the deaths of Connor Currie, Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard following an incident at the Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown in March 2019.

“We again extend our deepest sympathies to their families on what is understandably a difficult day for them. Given the decision to commence proceedings against two individuals and a limited company, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further whilst we continue to work with the PPS to present these matters to the court.”

He concluded: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland referred itself to the Police Ombudsman in the aftermath of the incident. Following the direction not to prosecute any police officers, the misconduct investigation undertaken by the Police Ombudsman is still live and we will await receipt of their report and any recommendations in due course.”

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