Duffy could face another trial

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

FOLLOWING his release from prison in January, Colin Duffy is due to face trial along with 11 other Republicans on charges of criminal damage to prison cells.

The trial was to begin on Monday, however, it was adjourned after a prison officer who was to stand as a witness was unavailable.

Also due to stand trial are John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville who were convicted earlier this year of murdering PSNI officer Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon in March 2009.

The damage to the cells at Maghaberry was alleged to have happened in May 2010.

It’s believed to be the first time prisoners have faced criminal charges for damaging prison property while in custody.

The trial was adjourned on Monday as the prosecution were not able to open the case at Belfast Magistrates’ Court because a witness wasn’t available.

Defence lawyers also sought adjournment because they hadn’t been able to watch a DVD of video footage from inside Maghaberry on the night the prisoners were alleged to have damaged their cells.

Three of the accused republicans, including Duffy, have been freed from jail in the past 15 months, but the other men all appeared in the dock with long beards which they’d grown as part of a protest at jail conditions.

Outside the court, supporters of the accused held a protest and there was a strong security presence around the Laganside complex.

District Judge Des Perry is to review the case on Wednesday.