Belfast Telegraph

Taxi driver accused of 'knocking down people like skittles' outside Great Eastern Bar in Belfast faces three charges of attempted murder

By Ashleigh McDonald

A taxi driver accused of driving a car at a crowd outside a bar and "knocking down people like skittles" has appeared in court on a number of charges, including attempted murder.

Michael Porter (34) denies a total of 10 charges arising from the incident outside the Great Eastern Bar in east Belfast in the early hours of December 19, 2011.

Witnesses told police they saw the car, driven by Porter, going over the prone bodies of two men, Belfast Crown Court heard.

Judge Corinne Philpott heard that one of the attempted murder charges relates to Porter's friend Paul Thompson – one of three men who sustained serious injuries.

Also injured were Daniel Martin and Christopher McKay.

Opening the case against Porter to a jury, a prosecutor said it was the Crown's case that the accused intended to kill.

Porter, who is originally from north Belfast, but whose address was given as Glen Court in Newtownards, denies all the charges.

The prosecutor said that on the evening of December 18, 2011, the accused, his brother Thomas, and Paul Thompson had been drinking in a city centre pub and had returned to Porter's partner's home at Manor Street, where he picked up her Vauxhall Passat.

Porter drove the car back in to the city centre looking for another pub, before the trio made their way to the Great Eastern Bar on the Lower Newtownards Road. Porter admitted parking the Passat at Hornby Street.

The trio stayed for several hours. All three then left and an argument broke out on the street outside.

The prosecutor said while the row was taking place, Porter was seen "running off from the crowd" and in to Hornby Street, where he had parked the Passat.

The car was then seen driving from the side street, hitting Mr McKay.

It was then driven a short distance, before doing a U-turn and coming back at speed, "driving over the prone bodies".

Porter attended Tennent Street PSNI station later that day. He claimed that after seeing his friend being attacked outside the pub, he fled and stayed at a friend's house.

Porter has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, and also of stealing the Passat.

The trial continues.

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