JURY SWORN IN FOR SPIERS TRIAL

Francis Paul McCormick, who has been charged with the murder of Portstewart man Trevor Spiers arrives at Coleraine Court on Monday. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Francis Paul McCormick, who has been charged with the murder of Portstewart man Trevor Spiers arrives at Coleraine Court on Monday. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

A JURY was sworn in yesterday for the Antrim Crown Court trial of four men facing charges arising out of the death of a 28-year-old man, Trevor Spiers, allegedly murdered outside Shenanigans’ night club in Portstewart.

The only other details surrounding the death of Mr Spiers, on December 13, 2009, that were given was that a second man, Michael Black, was also injured and assaulted during the same incident.

During the jury selection Judge David McFarland said that the trial, being held in Coleraine Courthouse starting today (Tuesday), is expected to last at least six weeks.

However, the jury panel were only told that which that Mr Spier’s died as a result of an incident outside the north coast nightclub, and that Mr Black was also injured at that time.

Judge McFarland said that of the four men, one of them Francis Paul McCormick, (33) of Queens Court, Coleraine denies the murder of Mr Spiers and assaulting, occasioning actual bodily harm to Mr Black.

McCormick’s 22-year-old nephew Paul McCormick from Edenmore Way, Ballymoney, is accused with him of assaulting Mr Black. TO PAGE 3

A third accused, Robert Peter Henderson (25), of Greenhall Manor, Coleraine, denies assisting the alleged offenders by disposing of a necklace.

All three defendants, along with 33-year-old Luke McArthur from Portstewart Road, Coleraine, are also charged with having unlawfully fought and made an affray, all on the same date.

Initially during the jury selection, two members of the panel, a sheep farmer, and a machinist, were excused as were three others who later admitted going to Shenanigans’ nightclub on various occasions.

Then after prosecution lawyer Neil Connor formally identified over forty witnesses to the jury panel, including Mr Spiers’ mother, Mrs Colette Gaile, a family friend was also excused from the proceedings.

Two others, were also later allowed to stand down until eventually six men and six women were impanelled to hear the trial.

Judge McFarland warned them not to discuss the case, even during the trial, given “the great pains we have gone to ensure you do not know anyone involved in this case”.

The judge explained that by getting into a discussion they may “innocently” be told something “about the case and that would be entirely wrong”.

However, Judge McFarland also told the jury panel that under no circumstances should they conduct their own internet research into the background of the case or the personalities involved.

Judge McFarland, who warned this was a strict instuction they were being given, said anyone who did so would be guilty of a contempt of court and would be dealt with accordingly.