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18th-May-2016 07:03 am - David Black accused refused Supreme Court bid
Alan Erwin, Belfast
:::u.tv:::
17 May 2016

The only man charged in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black has been blocked from asking the Supreme Court to overturn an order for him to stand trial.

Senior judges in Belfast refused Damien McLaughlin's application after rejecting claims his case raised a point of law of general public importance.

Lawyers for the 39-year-old claim he was unfairly denied the chance to cross-examine a key prosecution witness. They also contended that a district judge who committed him for trial applied the wrong legal test.

McLaughlin, from the Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, is facing four charges in relation to the prison officer's killing.

They include aiding and abetting his murder, having a Toyota Camry car for use in terrorism, preparing a terrorist act by starting and moving the vehicle which the killers used, and belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.

Damien McLaughlin

Mr Black was shot dead on the M1 in Co Armagh in November 2012 en route to work at high security Maghaberry Prison.

The 52-year-old father of two was the first Northern Ireland prison officer to be murdered in nearly 20 years. The prosecution alleges McLaughlin transported the Toyota car across the Irish border on the eve of the attack.

In June last year a preliminary investigation resulted in the district judge ordering him to be returned for trial.

McLaughlin's legal team launched judicial review proceedings against decisions to admit hearsay evidence and to return him for trial.

Their challenge centred on statements from a man who was arrested and interviewed by the Garda as a suspect in the murder plot.

He was not called as a witness during the preliminary investigation.

Counsel for McLaughlin, who is currently on bail, argued that there is a statutory right to cross-examine witnesses before trial.

A prosecution barrister countered that the proceedings were a form of satellite litigation.

Last month the High Court dismissed the judicial review challenge after ruling there was nothing irrational or perverse about the process.

McLaughlin's legal team returned on Tuesday to seek permission from judges to take their case to the Supreme Court in London.

But refusing leave, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "We have decided we are not going to certify a point of law of general public importance.

"The decision for the magistrate in committal (proceedings) is a broad discretionary judgment taking account of all relevant factors.

"We have concluded the magistrate did not err in the approach in this particular case."

24th-Jan-2015 10:59 am - Woman charged with murder of prison officer

John Cassidy
Independent.ie
24 Jan 2015

An unemployed single mother from Co Armagh is to stand trial in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

Fiona McFadden (29), of Killough Gardens, Lurgan, appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday for a brief arraignment hearing.

She pleaded not guilty to a single charge that she supplied a false alibi to a murder suspect on the day after Mr Black was killed.

The charge alleges that on November 3, 2012, she "did an act which had a tendency to pervert the course of public justice, namely, informed police officers investigating the murder of David Black that Sean McVeigh had been in her company at her address between 4pm and 9.30pm on the 31st day of October 2012'.'

The court heard her trial is expected to last a number of weeks.

McFadden was released on continuing bail to await the fixing of a date for her trial later this year.

Mr Black was shot dead on the M1 in Co Armagh as he went to work at Maghaberry Prison in November 2012. The 52-year-old father-of-two was the first prison officer in Northern Ireland to be murdered in almost 20 years.

Sean McVeigh (33), of Victoria Road, Lurgan, was charged at Craigavon Magistrates Court in February 2014 with the murder of Mr Black.

He was further charged with possessing an assault rifle with intent to endanger life.

However, in July last year the charges against him were dramatically dropped.

A lawyer from the Public Prosecution Service told Craigavon Magistrates Court: "The charges in this matter are to be withdrawn.

"No prosecution has been directed."

A solicitor for McVeigh told the court that he planned to instigate legal proceedings against the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service over the time his client had spent on remand.
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