Trio accused of assaulting a man have their cases sent to Antrim Crown Court despite their alleged victim subsequently dying in an unconnected incident

ColeraineCourt9 - Edited

THREE people accused of assaulting a man have had their cases sent to Antrim Crown Court despite their alleged victim subsequently dying in an unconnected incident after accidentally falling into a river in Larne.

Connor Murray, a 23-year-old from Larne, tragically passed away last May several days after being rescued from the town’s Inver River.

Last year at court it was heard the prosecution case in relation to the alleged assault was under review following Mr Murray’s death but at a subsequent court a prosecutor said the case was proceeding.

Jordan Brown (22), with an address listed as Newry but formerly of Hillview Road in Carrickfergus, faces two charges – grievous bodily harm with intent against Mr Murray and possessing a knife with intent to commit wounding.

Joel Hawthorn (22), of Bardic Drive in Larne, is accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Murray.

Lauren Houston (19), of Torr Gardens, Larne, is accused of assaulting Connor Murray.

The charges relate to September 13 in 2017 – Hawthorn’s 21st birthday.

The three accused were in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday for a Preliminary Enquiry – the legal step to send a case to the higher court.

They did not object to the holding of a Preliminary Enquiry and a prosecutor submitted that on the basis of the papers before the court there was a case to answer.

Legal representatives for each of the accused said they had no contrary submissions.

A defence barrister for Houston said the allegation against his client involved “slapping”.

The defendants were each released on £500 bail and District Judge Nigel Broderick sent their cases to Antrim Crown Court for arraignment in mid-March.

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