Two men have been committed for trial accused of animal cruelty by burning a family’s dog to death.
With uniformed police officers standing in the courtroom and outside Lisburn Courthouse, solicitors for Jamie Downey and Andrew Richard Stewart, both 22, told the Magistrates’ Court they had received papers relating to a Preliminary Enquiry and confirmed the pair were aware of the charge against them.
Downey, from Chestnut Hall Avenue and Stewart, from Wellington Parks, both in Moira, are accused of causing unnecessary suffering to Cody the collie dog on 26 August 2012.
Standing with their hands in their pockets, they told the court clerk they were not objecting to the PE but would not be giving evidence themselves or calling any witnesses.
Prosecution barrister David Russell submitted there was a Prima Facie case for the men to answer and defence lawyers conceded that taking the case at its height, there was “at this stage”.
Describing the case as “circumstantial,” District Judge Rosemary Watters returned Downey and Stewart for trial at Craigavon Crown Court and releasing them on continuing bail, ordered the pair to appear there on May 9.
In an incident which caused widespread outrage, three-year-old border collie Cody suffered horrific burns to most of her body when she was doused in petrol and set on fire in the Maghaberry Road area of Moira and tragically, despite vets’ best efforts, she had to be put to sleep a week later.
On Thursday District Judge Rosemary Watters granted legal aid to both Downey and Stewart and adjourned the case for two weeks to hear submissions on “no case to answer”.
Earlier Lisburn courthouse had to be cleared for a time this morning when dozens of people were overcome by coughing fits.
The packed courthouse had to be cleared and the doors left open to allow an irritant to disperse.
Uniformed police officers were heard to tell bemused onlookers, in between coughing fits, they believed a canister of pepper spray had caused the problem.
Business was moved from court one upstairs to court two.