Northern Ireland news

Co Down man appears in court accused of stabbing two healthcare workers

James Dowie is accused of stabbing two healthcare workers

A Co Down man appeared in court today accused of stabbing two healthcare workers.

Appearing at Newry Magistrates Court by videolink, James Dowie (58) confirmed he was aware of the three charges against him and that he did not object to a preliminary enquiry, the legal step necessary to elevate any case to the Crown Court.

Dowie, from Cline Road in Banbridge, faces two counts of wounding a man and a woman on May 15 this year with intent to cause them grievous bodily harm and with possessing a weapon, namely a Swiss Army penknife, with intent to inflict GBH.

None of the facts were opened in court, but it was reported at the time that a nurse received a cut to her neck and chin area during the attack and a healthcare assistant suffered a "puncture wound" to his side at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

During the brief hearing, a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a prima facie case against Dowie, a submission conceded by defence counsel Damien Halleron.

The court clerk told Dowie that although not obliged to, he had the right to comment on the charges and to call evidence and witnesses on his behalf, but he declined the opportunity.

Applying for legal aid to be extended to allow a senior QC to be instructed, Mr Halleron revealed that Dowie has "psychiatric difficulties" but District Judge Eamon King said that decision would be up to the Crown Court judge.

Freeing Dowie on his own bail of £1,000 with a condition not to contact the complainants, the judge returned the case to Newry Crown Court for arraignment on October 12.

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