Man charged over David Black murder car to apply for bail

Damien Joseph McLaughlin

Damien Joseph McLaughlin

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A DUNGANNON man accused of obtaining the car used in the murder of prison officer David Black will be eligible to reapply for bail at the end of this month, Craigavon Magistrates court has heard.

In a report in the Irish News, it was also revealed that the committal for trial cannot be met as most of the evidence is with an Garda Siochona and therefore outside the Northern Ireland jurisdiction.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin (37) of Kilnascally Road is charged with preparing for an act of terrorism by obtaining a Toyota Camry car from Co Leitrim on a date between October 30 and November 2 2012. A previous application for bail at Craigavon Magistrates court, almost a year ago to the day, was refused.

However, due to a conviction for a separate matter in the interim, McLaughlin’s release licence was breached last year and he was returned to prison to serve out the remainder of the original sentence. As a result he had been unable to reapply for bail in relation to the terrorism charge but that will change at the end of the month when the licence expires.

The court heard the case was due to be committed for trial on January 31 but this date is now unlikely to be met. A prosecution lawyer said a substantial amount of evidence which has been outstanding from gardai has now been received. However, more statements, CCTV footage and other evidence are still awaited. She said: “Matters have been complicated as most of the material is outside the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland.”

McLaughlin’s defence said: “the position is still unacceptable. My client has been in custody for over a year now.” Noting a full update was to be provided by senior police, Deputy District Judge Gerry Trainor said: “It is a hopeless proposition to say there will be a committal on January 31.”

He ordered the chief inspector in the case to compile a list of witnesses whose statements are available, and a further list of those outstanding, with a projected date of when they will be available to the court.

The judge said: “Any talk of committal at the end of the month is fanciful.”

He adjourned the case until January 17 for a concise update from police. McLaughlin will appear by video-link on that date. It is understood he will make an application for bail at the end of the month when his current sentence expires.