McDaid manslaughter trial adjourned

Kevin McDaid
Kevin McDaid

The trial of 14 men charged in connection with the manslaughter of Coleraine man Kevin McDaid was yesterday adjourned due to legal argument.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the prosecution needed 48 hours to consider disclosure material which had just come to light.

In the dock for the unlawful killing of Mr McDaid on May 24, 2009 were: Aaron Beech, 28, of John Street, Ballymena; David Craig Cochrane, 23, and David James John Cochrane, 52, both of Windyhall Park, Coleraine; Frank Daly, 53, from Oakland Walk,Coleraine; Rodney Gardner, 45, of Knocklynn Grange, Coleraine; Philip Kane, 39, from Danes Hill Road, Coleraine; James McAfee, 32, of Cloneen Drive, Ballymoney; Christopher McDowell, 37, from Castle Walk Mews, Castlerock; Ivan McDowell, 47, from Taggart Mews, Ballymoney;John McGrath, 54, of Knock Road, Ballymoney; Paul Newman, 49, Nursery Avenue, Ballymoney; and John Thompson, 34, of Knocknougher Road, Macosquin, Coleraine.

They were further accused of attempting to murder Damien Fleming on the same date, causing him grievous bodily harm with intent, assaulting Mr McDaid occasioning him actual bodily harm and an unlawfully fought and made affray.

Frank Daly was also charged with assaulting Mr McDaid’s wife Evelyn on the same date, causing her actual bodily harm and assaulting Leona Whitaker.

John Thompson was accused of assaulting Peter Neill and also damaging a window on a PSNI vehicle.

Aaron Beech was accused of assaulting Sonia O’Neill on June 29, 2010.

John Freeman was charged with making threats to kill Sonia O’Neill and Marion O’Neill on June 29, 2010. He was further accused of intimidating Sonia O’Neill, who is acting as a crown witness, and assaulting Sonia O’Neill on the same date.

Johnathon Stirling was charged with threatening to kill and making threats to harm Marion O’Neill on June 29, 2010.

All 14 defendants denied the charges at an arraignment hearing in February.

Mr Justice Weatherup adjourned proceedings until tomorrow and excused the 14 defendants from appearing unless they heard otherwise from their legal teams.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks and 123 witnesses are to be called to give evidence on behalf of the Crown.

DNA expert Professor Dan Crane is expected to fly in from Ohio in the United States to give evidence for a number of the defendants.