Belfast Telegraph

Accused to stand trial over David Shields fatal 'hit-and-run'

A judge has ruled a 43-year-old man is to stand trial in relation to what police believe was a hit-and-run incident after a body was found at a rural roadside in Armagh over three years ago. (stock photo)
A judge has ruled a 43-year-old man is to stand trial in relation to what police believe was a hit-and-run incident after a body was found at a rural roadside in Armagh over three years ago. (stock photo)

By staff reporter

A judge has ruled a 43-year-old man is to stand trial in relation to what police believe was a hit-and-run incident after a body was found at a rural roadside in Armagh over three years ago.

The victim, David James Shields, was aged in his 50s and resided in the Glenanne area.

His body was discovered on a grass verge just before 7am on June 14, 2016, at Shillington Road, Markethill.

At the time, police indicated it may have been the result of a hit-and-run.

John McBurney, from Green Park Avenue, Markethill, is accused of causing the death of Mr Shields by driving while unfit through drink or drugs, on a date unknown between June 11 and 14, 2016.

Last week defence lawyers mounted a challenge to the charge at Armagh Magistrates Court which involved a lengthy hearing, the content of which cannot be published at this time.

District Judge Paul Copeland adjourned to study the arguments put forward.

Yesterday, the court was reconvened and Judge Copeland said: "I have considered the voluminous papers in this matter and as I stated at hearing, it is not for me to determine innocence.

"This court is concerned only on if there is a case to answer and that is all. I rule there is a case to answer and the defence application is dismissed."

The committal went ahead during which McBurney declined to call witnesses or give evidence on his own behalf. He was remanded on £750 bail to appear before Newry Crown Court for arraignment on January 1.

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