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Man faces charge of attempted murder

By Paul Higgins

Published 16/05/2016

A north Belfast man has appeared in court accused of attempted murder after an incident described as a paramilitary-style shooting
A north Belfast man has appeared in court accused of attempted murder after an incident described as a paramilitary-style shooting

A north Belfast man has appeared in court accused of attempted murder after an incident described as a paramilitary-style shooting.

Paul Magee was charged with trying to murder Francis Donnelly when he appeared in Belfast Magistrates Court on Saturday.

The 51-year-old defendant was also accused of possessing a firearm with intent to commit attempted murder on 5 May this year.

Detective Sergeant Wilson told the court he believed he could connect Magee to the charges, a stance strenuously objected to by defence solicitor Seamus Delaney.

The officer confirmed that Mr Donnelly, who remains in hospital after he was shot several times in an alleyway between Sheridan Street and Donore Court, had not given a formal statement. However, he said Mr Donnelly had signed the notebook of an officer who had taken his verbal account in which he named Magee as his assailant.

Mr Wilson said while no statement has been taken given the medical condition of Mr Donnelly, the police and the alleged victim had agreed to conduct a video interview.

Both Mr Delaney and defence barrister Sean Devine submitted that the police were asking the court "to act in legal error" by formally connecting Magee. However, District Judge Ken Nixon disagreed.

During a disputed bail application, the detective said police feared that if released Magee, from Knutsford Drive, could interfere with witnesses.

Mr Wilson said police also believed he had "access to significant funds" which he could use to flee the jurisdiction.

He added that officers were still hunting for the gun used in the attack, "so if freed Magee could interfere with that aspect of the investigation or interfere with witnesses".

Despite defence submissions to the contrary, Judge Nixon refused to release Magee on the grounds of risk of flight and witness interference, ordering him to appear again on June 10 via video link.

Belfast Telegraph

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