Retrial ordered in sectarian murder trial

The trial of six Ballymena youths facing charges arising out of the sectarian murder of Catholic schoolboy Michael ‘Mickey Bo’ McIlveen in May 2006 was dramatically halted and the jury dismissed yesterday [Thursday].

The 15-year-old was set upon by a loyalist mob in May 2006 as he returned home from a pizza parlour in the County Antrim town.

The loyalists chased the teenager and cornered him in an alleyway, where they beat him about the head and body, leaving him seriously injured.

He died in hospital less than two days later.

The Antrim Crown Court jury of eight women and four men were told this week that “as a result of certain matters which have arisen”, they were being discharged them from any further involvement in the 27-day trial.

The judge has refused to say what prompted his decision to dismiss the jury. The case has now been adjourned until November 10 when a new jury will be sworn in.

This is the second dramatic turn of events to overtake the running of the case.

Within days of it first opening, one of the original accused, 20-year-old Mervyn Wilson Moon from Douglas Terrace, Ballymena, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the murder of the 15-year-old.

Moon, who faces life imprisonment has been remanded back into custody to await sentence at the end of the retrial of his five former co-accused, all of whom deny the murder.

The lengthy trial had heard how the schoolboy begged a friend for help moments before he and friends were chased and attacked in an alleyway by Moon and others shouting sectarian abuse on May 7 2006.

His family, including his mother Gina, sat through days of graphic evidence which described how Michael became separated from his friends and was set upon by the loyalist gang.

Now the trial will have to begin again next month.

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