Knife chase case delay as witness withdraws statement

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A witness making a withdrawal statement meant a Preliminary Enquiry could not go ahead on December 7 regarding murdered Ballymena schoolboy Michael McIlveen’s brother and uncle.

The duo are accused of having a large hunting knife whilst chasing one of those convicted of the 2006 killing of the 15-year-old who was also known as Mickey-Bo.

A Preliminary Enquiry (PE) - the legal step to send the case to the Crown Court - was due to be held on Thursday at Ballymena Magistrates Court but a prosecutor said the PE papers had to be re-jigged after a “withdrawal statement from one of the witnesses”.

No further details were given to the court and the case was adjourned until January.

Andrew James Sean Smyth (19), an apprentice butcher, of Glendun Drive, Ballymena and Sean Joseph Patrick McIlveen (45), a crane driver, of Devenagh Way, Ballymena, face charges.

They are currently on bail following an alleged incident in which Aaron Wallace, who said he was in fear of his life, locked himself into staff toilets in a KFC restaurant in Antrim town on May 13 this year.

Michael McIlveen was murdered in Ballymena 11 years ago.

The teenager from the Dunvale estate in the town was killed in a sectarian attack after being chased by a gang and struck with a baseball bat in an alleyway in Ballymena town centre and later died from brain injuries.

Aaron Wallace was one of the people convicted following the schoolboy’s death and as part of a prison release programme he was residing in Antrim at weekends before the May incident.

Both accused had previously been charged with assaulting Wallace and also assaulting his father who came to the scene.

Smyth is also charged with having an offensive weapon in a public place - a large hunting knife - at Fountain Hill in Antrim.

McIlveen is charged with having a large hunting knife with intent to commit an indictable offence, namely threats to kill.

McIlveen is further charged with making a threat to kill Aaron Wallace and resisting a police officer.