Belfast Telegraph

Prosecution urged to end case against injured joyriding accused

By Paul Higgins

Lawyers for an alleged joyrider who was seriously injured in a crash which killed two of his friends are to ask the prosecution to show mercy, a judge has heard.

Defence lawyer Sean Doran told Craigavon Crown Court that 23-year-old Mark Smith had sustained a serious and significant brain injury in the double fatal car crash. With this in mind, he asked "whether it is in the public interest to proceed in the matter".

He said material has already been provided to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) which is under consideration and Judge Patrick Lynch QC ordered that the charges be put to him in the meantime. Smith, from Broom Park in Dunmurry, pleaded not guilty to two offences of aggravated vehicle theft causing the deaths of Connor Rules and Patrick McAllister on June 28, 2010.

Rules and McAllister, both in their 20s, were killed when the stolen Subaru Impreza they were travelling in ploughed through a hedge on the Leathemstown Road in Dundrod before bursting into flames.

Also facing a trial on similar charges is 30-year-old Mark Toner, from Slibh Dubh View, while two other west Belfast men, Kevin Valliday (26), from Cullingtree Road, and 28-year-old Francis Lavery, from the Stewartstown Road, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence. Releasing Smith on continuing bail, Judge Lynch told him to stay in touch with his legal team in case any decision were made about his case.

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