Northern Ireland news

Down farmer to stand trial accused of killing friend

Alleged killer driver Harry McDowell

A Co. Down farmer has been ordered to stand trial accused of killing one friend and injuring another in a car crash.

Appearing at Newry Magistrates Court, sitting in Lisburn, via videolink from his solicitors office, 20-year-old Harry McDowell confirmed he understood the two charges against him.

McDowell, from Ravenswood in Banbridge, is accused of causing the death of Christopher Hillis and causing grievous bodily injury to Conal Herman by driving carelessly on the Banbridge Road, Dromara on October 28, 2017.

Mr Hillis, who was 18 at the time and from Rathfriland, was a back seat passenger in a Vauxhall Corsa being driven by McDowell when it was involved in a single vehicle crash in the early hours.

At the time, police said there were five teenage males in the car when it crashed between Dromara and Killallen shortly after 12.30am.

Christopher Hillis

Dressed in a grey suit, shirt and tie, McDowell declined the opportunity to comment on the charges or to give evidence to the preliminary enquiry.

Applying for legal aid to be extended to allow a senior QC to be instructed, Mr O’Hare revealed that apart from the “obvious gravity of the charges, the trial will turn on complex forensic engineer evidence.”

Returning the case to Newry Crown Court and adjourning the arraignment to a date to be fixed, District Judge Amanda Brady freed McDowell on his own bail of £250.

While she refused to extend legal aid, she told Mr O’Hare he could reapply to the Crown Court Judge.

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