Prosecuting lawyers today (Thursday) began the legal process to convince a judge to put a man on trial for involvement in an IRA murder 17 years ago.
However, the evidence to be called in the Preliminary Investigation at Craigavon Magistrates Court cannot be reported in case it prejudices the potential prospective trial of 46-year-old Gary Marshall.
Marshall, whose address was given to the court as The Beeches in Portadown, was originally charged with the murder of Kevin Conway but that has since been replaced with a charge of kidnapping the 30-year-old, married father-of-four in February 1998.
Having been kidnapped from his Lurgan home on February 17, Mr Conway’s body was found on farmland at the Soldierstown Road near Aghalee, his head hooded, hands tied behind his back and shot through the head.
Detectives arrested Marshall in Birmingham in December 2013 after carrying out a review of the original RUC murder investigation and the court has previously heard that Marshall could allegedly be connected to the execution by soil and forensic fibre evidence.
Marshall was arrested and questioned during the original investigation but refused to speak to police over the course of 20 interviews until forensic evidence was put to him.
It was claimed that Marshall’s red Vauxhall Nova had been used in the kidnap and that original examination of the car had uncovered fibres from Mr Conway’s shirt on the back seat and that recent, further examinations uncovered more fibres from the murdered man’s shirt on both the upright and seated parts.
Attended by murdered solicitor Rosemary Nelson during the original investigation, Marshall claimed the fibres were there because Mr Conway had helped him with a child’s car seat but according to the police case, that explanation is not consistent with the forensic findings.
An investigating officer further claimed that another forensic scientist had opined there was a “range of similarities” between soil debris found in the footwell of the Nova car and the derelict building where Mr Conway’s body was found.
In the more recent series of interviews Marshall again chose to remain silent.
During the course of the PI, prosecuting QC Terence Mooney will call evidence in an effort to satisfy District Judge Peter King there is a Prima Facie case against Marshall and to commit him to the Crown Court for trial.