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Arrest warrant for man accused of serious motoring charges whilst on bail for hit and run

A twenty-three-year-old man facing charges of aggravated vehicle-taking allegedly committed while on bail awaiting sentencing on other serious motoring matters, has failed to appear in court.

Jody Dowzell (23) with addresses of both Annaghroe Road and Castle Lane in Caledon is charged with taking a car without the consent of the owner on March 9 and driving it dangerously and without insurance.

Offending is alleged to have occurred in the vicinity of the Caledon Estate.

A police officer told Armagh Magistrates’ Court sitting in Newry, both charges could be connected.

He further confirmed knowing of no reason why Dowzell was not in attendance.

Noting not only his absence but also no legal representation on record, District Judge Bernie Kelly issued an Arrest Warrant.

Just last week Dowzell walked from Dungannon Magistrates Court with minimal fines and a disqualification, after a hit-and-run incident in which he abandoned his badly injured passenger in the wreckage of the vehicle.

He admitted driving without due care and attention and while unfit through drink or drugs as well as failing to remain at the scene of an accident in which injury was caused and failing to report this to police.

The incident was reported to police during the early hours of 15 September last year, when Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attended the scene.

The injured male victim was found in the passenger seat of the vehicle which was insured in Dowzell’s name, but he was not at the scene.

Officers attended his home where he denied all allegations put to him and rejected driving prior to the collision. He was arrested, initially giving a no comment interview, but then claimed he had been driving until 4am on the morning in question, in the company of a female.

He claimed to have driven home, parked the car and hadn’t seen it since.

When further evidence was put to him, he finally admitted driving around with the victim before “losing control of the vehicle and crashing into a tree.”

The victim suffered a fractured ankle, injured ribs, lower back pain and bruising around his neck.

Drugs were found in Dowzell’s system but he claimed to have smoked cannabis after the incident at his father’s home.

A defence barrister conceded Dowzell has a previous record including a suspended prison sentence for burglary, although the latest offending did not breach that.

Despite District Judge Michael Ranaghan remarking, “This can’t have been far off careless driving causing grievous bodily harm”, he took on board Dowzell has still to discharge a number of financial penalties for other offending.

He imposed £40 fines for each offence, making a total of £160 and disqualified driving for nine months.

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