Man linked to prison warder mur­der faces ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS -

A SUS­PECTED dis­si­dent repub­li­can will hear next month whether he is to be ex­tra­dited to North­ern Ire­land for ques­tion­ing over the mur­der of prison of­fi­cer David Black.

Damien McLaugh­lin (41), of Kil­mas­cally Road, Ard­boe, Co Ty­rone, ab­sconded from his bail ad­dress in west Belfast last Novem­ber and went on the run.

He was due to stand trial in Fe­bru­ary this year charged with aid­ing and abet­ting the mur­der of Mr Black in Novem­ber 2012. He is fur­ther ac­cused of be­long­ing to a pro­scribed or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Dur­ing a re­view of the case yes­ter­day at Belfast Crown Court, a pros­e­cu­tion lawyer told Mr Jus­tice Colton: “The ac­cused is fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion from Dublin to North­ern Ire­land. The mat­ter was heard by Judge (Aileen) Donnelly. We un­der­stand the pro­ceed­ings took place in Dublin on July 26, 2017 and she will de­liver her rul­ing on Oc­to­ber 20 this year.’’

Mr Jus­tice Colton agreed to ad­journ the case, which will be re­viewed on Oc­to­ber 27, fol­low­ing the Dublin ex­tra­di­tion rul­ing.

McLaugh­lin’s dis­ap­pear­ance only came to light in Jan­uary this year at the same court when a pros­e­cu­tion lawyer asked for his bail to be re­voked af­ter he could not be found at his bail ad­dress. The lawyer said McLaugh­lin failed to sign with po­lice in Novem­ber. He added that on De- cem­ber 23 last, po­lice called to the ad­dress, which he said “ap­pears to have ef­fec­tively been cleared out”.

The court heard that when of­fi­cers checked his other ad­dress in Ard­boe, and those of fam­ily mem­bers, this was “of no as­sis­tance”.

The pros­e­cu­tor said that the peo­ple who pro­vided sureties, namely McLaugh­lin’s un­cles, were also “not able to as­sist in lo­cat­ing him”.

McLaugh­lin’s dis­ap­pear­ance pro­voked an out­cry, while Mr Black’s fam­ily said they “felt let down by the jus­tice sys­tem’’.

De­tec­tive Chief Supt Ray­mond Mur­ray said he had vis­ited the Black fam­ily “to of­fer sin­cere apolo­gies” on be­half of the PSNI and pro­vide “re­as­sur­ance of the steps po­lice were tak­ing to lo­cate McLaugh­lin”.

The fail­ure by the PSNI to carry out reg­u­lar bail checks on McLaugh­lin is cur­rently the sub­ject of a Po­lice Om­buds­man in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Fol­low­ing a mas­sive cross-bor­der man­hunt, McLaugh­lin was even­tu­ally ar­rested by the Garda on March 2 this year on foot of a Euro­pean Ar­rest War­rant is­sued by the PSNI while walk­ing along a street in Ramelton, Co Done­gal.

Damien McLaugh­lin and (right) David Black

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