Lawyer wants Orangeman's Ardoyne crash murder bid charges reviewed
Two attempted murder charges against a senior Orangeman who knocked over two women and a number of police officers should be reviewed, his lawyer said yesterday.
Counsel for John Alexander Aughey (61) revealed that his client had initially been charged with dangerous driving following the incident at the Ardoyne shop fronts when the car he was in was involved in a collision in which a teenage girl was seriously injured.
Aughey had spoken of regret at what happened on Monday night during public disorder at the north Belfast flashpoint following an Orange parade being barred from passing through the area.
Aughey, from Brae Hill Park in Ballysillan, was arrested by police at the scene and later charged with two counts of attempted murder. He appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday watched by a number of supporters, including his wife, sitting in the public gallery.
Aughey is charged with the attempted murder of Phoebe Clawson and Roisin McGlone.
Pheobe (16), from north Belfast, had her collarbone, a pelvis and an ankle broken when she was trapped under the vehicle outside the Ardoyne shops. Police officers had to lift the car to rescue her. She is in a stable condition in hospital. Ms McGlone's injuries were not as serious.
Dressed in a dark polo shirt as he appeared in the dock at Belfast Magistrates Court, Aughey only spoke to confirm that he understood the charges against him. The prosecution contended that he had engaged in "provocative conduct moments before the incident" and had verbally abused nationalist protesters through his car window. A PSNI sergeant opposed bail, telling the court that Aughey was an activist at the Twaddell loyalist protest camp. He further argued that if Aughey was released, it would lead to "widespread and serious disorder" in north Belfast, claiming that Aughey posed a risk to others and was under threat himself.
Counsel for Aughey said there was no chance of his client committing further offences.
"This is a 61-year-old man, he is not a career criminal, far from it. He suffers from ill health, has had three treatments for cancer and is still on cancer drugs.
"He has a job and is the primary carer for his wife."
He revealed that his client was initially charged with dangerous driving.
"Having been with him I can see why those charges were thought more appropriate," he said.
"This is not a man who is going to go out and commit further offences," he said.
"He is a member of the Orange Order, that's not something he shies away from or denies. But he stays on the right side of the law.
"The situation is regrettable and regretted by him. This is a 61-year-old man in poor health with a wife in poor health."
He requested that the charges be reviewed.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall set bail at £500.
Aughey is also excluded from north Belfast with the exception of attending medical appointments, barred from driving and must report to a police station each week.
He will next appear in court on August 12.