Duffy to ‘sue PSNI’ after arrest over motorway murder

Colin Duffy.
Colin Duffy.
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REPUBLICAN Colin Duffy has said he will sue the PSNI for unlawful arrest after it emerged a judge ordered his release from custody over the murder of prison officer David Black.

The 44-year-old was arrested with another Lurgan man aged (31) on Friday in connection with the dissident republican shooting of Mr Black.

However a ruling to free the pair could set a precedent on the police use of anti-terrorism legislation that allows suspects to be held for up to 28 days without charge.

Judge Gemma Loughran released the men at 7pm on Sunday after detectives refused to disclose intelligence to lawyers acting on their behalf.

Duffy, who was acquitted of the dissident murders of two soldiers at Massereene army barracks earlier this year, denied involvement in the killing of Mr Black.

Speaking to the Irish News, he said, “They may come back and arrest me again but the court has ruled that without evidence my arrest was unlawful - and that will remain the case as there will never be any evidence because I had no involvement whatsoever.

“I was told that I was being arrested as a result of intelligence but not what that intelligence was.

“They seem to think they can do what they want and even when directed to by the court refused to present us with this alleged intelligence.”

Duffy said he ‘did not have any involvement in the offences for which I was arrested’.

“I wouldn’t even class it as a fishing exercise. The only reason for my arrest is that I am a republican from that general area.”

In January Duffy was acquitted of murdering two soldiers at Massereene army base in Antrim in March 2009.

He has spent almost three years on remand in the run up to the trial and been held in police custody for 13 days before being charged with the murders.

Duffy’s lawyers are taking a European Court of Human Rights challenge over the length of time he was held before facing charges.

In 1995 he was charged with shooting two RUC men in Lurgan town centre but those charges were later dropped.

Two years earlier he was jailed for former UDR man John Lyness’ murder but the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction.

Detectives investigating Mr Black’s murder arrested Colin Duffy at his home and took him to the PSNI’s serious crime suite in Antrim Police Station.

No group has yet admitted responsibility for the attack although it is believed it is an alliance between independent groups assisted by Real IRA members based in the Republic who were responsible.

On Sunday the PSNI made a court application for an extension to hold Duffy under the 2000 Terrorism Act which allows suspects to be held for up to 28 days without trial.

Police said the arrests had been based on ‘intelligence’ received after the murder.

Judge Loughran ruled that the detained men’s lawyers had the right to view the intelligence.

When police refused to disclose it the judge ruled that both should be free.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, who acts on behalf of both men, said they would be ‘issuing High Court civil actions for damages for wrongful arrest and unlawful detention’.

Sunday’s ruling could set a precedent for other cases involving the use of the tough terrorism legislation.

A 29-year-old man arrested in Co Leitrim on Friday in relation to the murder has also been released without charge on Monday and a file is being prepared for the DPP.