A promising young GAA player shot twice in a vicious paramilitary-style attack is facing serious assault charges.
On Wednesday four masked men abducted James Telford, 20, as he walked along the Saul Road in Downpatrick.
He was taken in a car to the Vianstown Road area where he was shot in both legs.
Last week Telford, from Kildare Street in the Ardglass fishing village, appeared in court charged with assault.
The alleged victim claimed Telford held him while his pal Paul Crangle, 25, threw a punch.
Crangle’s younger brother, 19-year-old Brian Crangle, has also been accused of attacking the injured party.
A witness denied a claim that Telford had been trying to break up the altercation, which occurred on Strangford Road, Ardglass, in March 2008.
The defendants were freed on bail to appear again before Downpatrick Magistrates Court on September 17.
However, it is not clear if Telford will be well enough to attend after being shot in both legs.
Friends of the gun attack victim said he is now planning to flee the Downpatrick area when he gets out of hospital.
They also revealed that the gun attack has ruined Telford’s promising gaelic football career.
“Telford is a great player, but it will be a long time before he is back anywhere near a football pitch,” said a pal.
“He was shot in both legs and can hardly stand up.
“Naturally he’s devastated — as well as not playing football again he is telling people that he will move out of the area.”
There has been local speculation linking the gun attack to the Official IRA.
A PSNI spokeswoman appealed for information on the shooting.
Officers particularly want to hear from anyone who saw a dark coloured Renault on Saul Road around 9pm on Wednesday.
South Down SDLP MLA Margaret Ritchie condemned the attack.
She said: “This act of thuggery, retribution and summary justice belongs to the violence of the past and is alien to the people of Downpatrick.”