Belfast Telegraph

Bail for teen accused of murdering young father

By Alan Erwin

A teenager accused of beating a young father to death in west Belfast has been granted High Court bail.

Lee Smyth (19) is one of three people charged with the murder of 20-year-old Christopher Meli in December 2015.

He allegedly whistled for others to join in a group attack on the victim in the Twinbrook estate, prosecutors said.

But with Smyth having already spent more than a year in custody and any trial months away, a judge ruled that he can now be released under strict bail conditions.

The decision provoked outbursts from Mr Meli's parents before they exited the courtroom.

Smyth, of Colinbrook Gardens in the Dunmurry area of the city, denies murder and claims he acted in self-defence.

Mr Justice Burgess granted the application after citing his age and the prospect of spending up to two years on remand.

He will be released to stay with a relative at an address approved by police.

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