Farmer facing 12 charges of causing suffering to animals

A judge has ordered a Glenavy farmer to stand before a jury on charges of causing unnecessary suffering to cows, sheep and a calf.

Standing in the dock at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday, February 7, 47-year-old James Steele confirmed he was aware of the 18 charges against him.

Mr Steele, from the Gobrana Road, faces 12 counts of causing unnecessary suffering to cows, sheep and a calf, three counts of failing to hold an animal carcass and three further charges of failing to comply with animal by-product regulations on dates between September 17, 2015 and January 9 last year.

No facts giving rise to the allegations were opened in court, but a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a case against Steele based on the papers before the court, a submission which defence solicitor Andrew Kinney conceded.

District Judge Peter King said he was satisfied there was sufficient evidence to warrant returning the case to the Crown Court and although given the opportunity to comment on the charges or call evidence, Mr Steele declined.

Released on his own bail of £500, Mr Steele was ordered to appear before Antrim Crown Court on March 7 for his arraignment.