Man accused of bringing murder car across border
A 36 year old man, alleged to have brought the car used in the murder of prison officer David Black across the border, was refused bail last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.
Damien Joseph McLaughlin, of Kilmascally Road, Dungannon, is charged that between October 30 last year and November 2, with the intention of committing acts of terrorism obtained possession of a Toyota Camry car at Carrigallen, County Leitrim, and brought it to Northern Ireland.
A PSNI detective said that following the murder of Mr Black on the motorway on November 1 a Toyota Camry car was found burned out in Lurgan. It was traced back to Dublin.
He alleged that McLaughlin had brought the car from County Leitrim to north of the border.
Opposing bail the officer believed the defendant may commit further offences.
He also alleged that McLaughlin who had previous convictions for possession of firearms had been released on licence with the conditions that he did not commit further offences and did not leave the jurisdiction.
The detective said he believed the defendant was part of the colour party at the Alan Ryan funeral in Dublin, he may fail to appear and there was a risk of interference with witnesses.
He added that this was still a live investigation but some items had still not been recovered, namely the gun.
Mr Peter Corrigan, solicitor for the defendant, said there was no evidence linking his client to the vehicle and McLaughlin vehemently denied he was involved in this.
The PSNI officer said there was CCTV showing McLaughlin in a shop close to the car making inquiries about a battery. There was an issue with starting the car.
Mr Corrigan argued that there was no evidence of his client using the battery to start the car or taking the car.
He conceded the defendant had a record but pointed out there was no previous record of absconding or interfering with the administration of justice. In an interview McLaughlin had denied being a member of a proscribed organisation.
Mr Corrigan indicated that there were substantial sureties, up to £750,000, available from the defendant’s extended family.
He added that the defendant had secured work, had a wife and three children, including a six week old baby, and suggested he could be released on bail with proper conditions, surety and employment.
Refusing bail, District Judge, Mr Alan White, said McLaughlin’s record was highly relevant.
He told the defendant, who appeared via videolink from Maghaberry, that he could apply to the High Court.
Mr White remanded McLaughlin in custody to appear, again by videolink, at Craigavon court on Friday, February 1.
Mr Black, from Cookstown, was shot close to Lurgan and was the first prison officer killed in Northern Ireland for 20 years.
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Weather for Lurgan
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West