Men accused of murder have cases sent to Crown Court

Two men accused of murder in Ballymena have had their cases sent to the Crown Court in Belfast.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 8:08 am

Samuel Hugh John Atcheson (34), of Crebilly Road in Ballymena and Stephen Hunter (30), of Lanntara in the town, are charged with murdering Donald Fraser-Rennie in Ballymena in September 2020.

The case was mentioned at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

During a Preliminary Enquiry - the legal process to send a case to the Crown Court - the defendants appeared at court via video links from prison where they have been on remand.

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A prosecution lawyer submitted there was a case to answer and defence lawyers had no contrary submissions.

Defence teams made an application for two legal counsel for each of the defendants at the Crown Court.

The defendants were remanded in continuing custody and the cases adjourned to Laganside Court in Belfast on December 3.

The body of 33-year-old Mr Fraser-Rennie was found at an address at Crebilly Road in September, 2020.

At the time, a PSNI Detective Chief Inspector had said in a press statement: “At this stage I believe that Donald was the victim of a vicious, sustained and violent beating which resulted in his death”.