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Motorist accused of causing death of Markethill man to face Crown Court trial

The district judge said: 'I am satisfied that there is a prima facie case against the defendant and welcome the continuation of the committal'

Shillinghill Road Markethill

An alleged unfit driver accused of causing the death of a man found lying at the side of the road in Markethill three years ago is to go on trial at the Crown Court.

Speaking at the conclusion of a Preliminary Investigation, the District Judge ruled that there was a prima facie case against the 41-year-old.

John McBurney, from Green Park Avenue in Markethill, faces a single count of causing the death of David James Shields by driving carelessly and while unfit between June 11 and June 14, 2016, on the Shillinghill Road, Markethill.

The body of the 52-year-old was found lying at the side of the road in what police described at the time as a hit and run incident.

Speaking on Monday, District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “I have considered the papers, the voluminous papers in this case. I have had the benefit of well researched arguments from both the prosecution counsel and defence counsel both in written and oral form.

“The court is indebted to both counsels, it is for this court to decide whether or not the defendant has a prima facie case to meet.”

He continued: “That is all that has to be determined at this stage. There is not to be a decision on the defendant’s guilt or innocence

“I am satisfied that there is a prima facie case against the defendant and welcome the continuation of the committal.”

McBurney was released on his own bail of £750 and was instructed to appear at Newry Crown Court on January 21 for arraignment.

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