Belfast Telegraph

Hit-and-run motorist 'feared abduction', court hears

By Alan Erwin

A motorist accused of running over a man in a hit-and-run panicked amid fears he was about to be abducted, a court heard.

Anthony Smith reversed into the victim - said to be a friend - after receiving death threats, his lawyer claimed.

But police say the incident on the New Lodge Road in north Belfast on Tuesday followed a confrontation about crashing into a car.

The victim, in his thirties, is in intensive care with life-threatening injuries, a judge was told.

Smith faces charges of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop, report or remain at the scene of an accident, and having no insurance.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates Court Smith (28), with an address in New Lodge Road, spoke to confirm he understood the charges against him.

He handed himself in to police yesterday, a detective said.

Opposing bail, the officer told the court that Smith accepted owning and driving the car.

"He said he was challenged by a male unknown to him and due to the defendant being under threat he believed the person was going to abduct him, (so) he reversed the car and caused the injuries," the detective constable said.

But based on witness statements, he claimed people emerged when Smith crashed into the car.

The officer added: "The injured party confronted (the driver), who reversed back on the person attached to the car and drove over that person."

Ciaran Toner for Smith said his client made full admissions and argued that Smith had been warned of a threat.

"The car door was opened by someone coming up behind and he immediately panicked," he said.

Following the incident, Smith drove about 100 yards before running away, the court heard.

He was granted bail but banned from entering north Belfast and ordered to have no contact with the victim or any witnesses.

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