Judge expects progress in Bertie Acheson case

The Late Bertie Acheson, who was murdered in his own home of The Mountsandel Road in Coleraine.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
The Late Bertie Acheson, who was murdered in his own home of The Mountsandel Road in Coleraine.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
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A JUDGE has said he expects to see “significant progress” in the next few weeks in the case of an Antrim man accused of the manslaughter of a pensioner in Coleraine.

District Judge Des Perry was speaking at Ballymena Magistrates Court during a remand hearing for Paul James Manolito Toland (39), of The Cedars, who is accused of killing Bertie Acheson, who died from a heart attack following a break-in at his home on April 30 last year.

Seeking to have Toland further remanded in custody until April 11, a Public Prosecution Service representative said that the Crown was still awaiting “additional forensic reports” in the case, which were due by the end of April.

The judge, while admitting that the case “was always going to be a fairly long, drawn-out affair”, said that he hoped there would be “significant progress” by the next occasion.

Addressing the judge via videolink, Toland said he was unhappy with the delay in his case and asked instead for a two-week remand, which the judge agreed to.

The case involving Toland’s estranged wife Jennifer Toland (23), who is also charged with Mr Acheson’s manslaughter, was also called separately at the same court.

The defendant was not present in court, having been previously excused from attending, with her barrister explaining that she is now “in the latter stages of pregnancy”.

She was remanded on continuing bail until April 25.

The judge also lifted a blanket media ban previously imposed on covering any aspect of Toland’s case, instead instructing the media not to publish her current address.