Meli murder case ‘is painfully slow’, says lawyer

The funeral of Christopher Meli back in December 2015
The funeral of Christopher Meli back in December 2015

The case against three teenagers accused of Christopher Meli’s murder is “starting to be painfully slow”, a defence solicitor said today.

Lisburn Magistrates’ Court heard that although the officer investigating the murder and the prosecution should have been in a position to have a timetable of the way forward in the case, “unfortunately the prosecution are not in a position facilitate that”.

While 18-year-old Stephen McCann, from Bearnagh Glen in Belfast, is on bail accused of involvement in the murder of Mr Meli, a 16-year-old boy – who cannot be named because of his age – and 18-year-old Lee Smyth, from Colinbrook Gardens in west Belfast, are in custody facing the same charge.

The body of father-of-one Mr Meli, 20, was discovered on a pathway in the Glasvey Close area of Twinbrook after he had been beaten to death. Detectives believe up to 20 people were involved in a number of violent incidents that ended in the murder on grassland in the early hours of December 12, 2015.

In court today, District Judge Peter King said he would allow a two-week adjournment ordering that if no timetable was forthcoming by that stage, he would “expect an explanation why”.