Northern Ireland news

Teen pleads not guilty to causing death of friend Conal Daly (18) and injuring nun in police chase

The scene of the accident. Picture by Mark Marlow, Pacemaker  
Staff Reporter

A TEENAGER has pleaded not guilty to killing his best friend and injuring a nun during a high speed chase with police in Co Down.

The 17-year-old from Belfast, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court for a formal arraignment hearing on a total of six charges in relation to the fatal crash which happened 18 months ago.

Standing outside of the dock accompanied by his solicitor, the juvenile pleaded not guilty to causing the death of his 18-year-old friend Conal Daly and causing grievous bodily injury to Sisters of Mercy nun Josephine McAleer.

He also denied a charge of dangerous driving, two counts of assault on police and causing criminal damage to a PSNI vehicle.

The charges relate to an accident which happened on Saintfield Road in Carryduff at 8.40pm on October 16, 2014.

The prosecution said the trial will require a full seven-day sitting of the court.

It is alleged the youth was driving a 'runaround' Jaguar Sovereign which crashed into a Volkswagen Polo being driven by Sister McAleer, who suffered fractures to both legs in the collision.

The police pursuit of the Jaguar started at the Ravenhill Road/Ormeau Road junction before finally crashing into the nun's car.

The incident is the subject of a Police Ombudsman investigation and a file on the matter had been submitted to the Publice Prosecution Service for consideration.

The court heard that the teenager "has no real memory of the accident itself".

An earlier hearing heard the youth had sustained a "significant brain trauma" as a result of the crash which had been confirmed by an MRI scan.

District Judge Piers Grant remanded the juvenile back into custody to the Rathgael Centre in Bangor, Co Down, ahead of the start of his trial in June.

Last month, the teenager was refused bail for "repeatedly breaching all previous bail conditions imposed on him", breaking them on 26 occasions, including "numerous breaches of his curfew, ... interfering with his electronic tag and failing to attend court".

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