Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of causing the death of a teenage jogger is missing, court is told

A man accused of causing the death of a teenager after a car struck her while she was out jogging "cannot be located", a court has been told.

Lesley-Ann McCarragher (19) was killed in a hit-and-run incident on April 9, 2016, on the Monaghan Road, Armagh.

Eighteen-year old Nathan Finn of Keady Road, Armagh, and 30-year-old Damien Paul McCann of Monaghan Road, Armagh, are alleged to have caused Lesley-Ann's death by dangerous driving, as well as causing death whilst uninsured drivers.

McCann had been listed for appearance last month.

However, he did not attend and the case was adjourned. Further efforts to have him appear in the meantime were fruitless.

Finn, who is also accused of causing death whilst having no driving licence, was named for the first time last month having originally been charged with the offences as a youth.

Since then, he has turned 18, and the law banning his identification no longer applies.

However, Finn's defence solicitor made an application for anonymity, claiming he was subject to a death threat.

This was not supported by police as would be required in such an application, which was subsequently rejected by the judge.

On that date the case was re-listed for both men to appear for a committal hearing to transfer the case to Crown Court for trial.

But when the case was called at Armagh Magistrate's Court, a prosecution lawyer said an issue had been brought to his attention by police who advised the co-accused "cannot be located", despite strenuous efforts.

Legal discussions followed and after some time the prosecution requested a further adjournment.

McCann's case may affect the timing of Finn's case, which is understood to be ready to move to Crown Court.

As the pair are jointly accused there is a preference not to split the cases, although it can be done, but usually only after all other options have been exhausted.

McCann is being prosecuted at the direction of the PPS, which usually means a summons is served on an individual advising them of charges and when to appear in court.

However, if the individual cannot be found, the summons cannot be served.

Unlike Finn, who was arrested, charged and appeared in court at the outset, the co-accused is not on bail.

Ms McCarragher's parents and other family members were seated in the public gallery in preparation for the hearing, but left quietly after learning the co-accused cannot be found and the committal to trial could not proceed.

by staff reporter

Belfast Telegraph

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