A SECOND man accused of murdering a Chinese businessman nearly 17 years ago has had the charge withdrawn.
Belfast Magistrates Court was told yesterday that the case against Paul Allen was not proceeding due to available evidence and the length of time ongoing inquiries are expected to take.
Mr Allen, 39, of Drumhoy Drive, Carrickfergus, had been charged over the killing of Simon Tang in the Co Antrim town.
The 28-year-old victim, a married father-of-two, was beaten and robbed outside his takeaway business in June 1996.
His watch and the night’s takings were stolen during the attack.
He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.
No one has been convicted of Mr Tang’s killing.
On Wednesday it was revealed that a murder charge against co-accused George Robinson, 36, of The Hollies, Carrickfergus, was being withdrawn.
Now the same decision has been taken in the case against Mr Allen.
A Public Prosecution Service lawyer told the court it was based on evidence currently available not being enough to proceed.
The lawyer added: “However, for the benefit of the defence, there are ongoing inquiries.
“These may take some time and it’s because of the time taken it was considered to withdraw (the charge).”
Defence barrister Mark Farrell confirmed to district judge Mervyn Bates that the action was being taken on a without prejudice basis.
As well as the withdrawal of murder charges, allegations against two women that they supplied false alibis in connection with the murder investigation have also been dropped.
Jacqueline Scanlon, 34, of Woodburn Drive and Leanne Wilson, 35, from The Cherry Walk – both in Carrickfergus – had been accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice.