Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

John Bunting ordered attack on loyalist rivals, court told

John Bunting
John Boreland
Andre Shoukri

A prominent loyalist gave orders before a gun attack on two high-profile rivals in north Belfast, a court heard.

John Bunting was heard to instruct "get the pieces" before John 'Bonzer' Boreland and Andre Shoukri came under gunfire, it was claimed.

Bunting (47) is one of three men charged with attempting to murder the pair last week.

Although Bunting denies involvement in any shooting incident, he was refused bail at this stage.

Bunting, of Stonebridge Avenue in Conlig, Co Down, was arrested and charged along with John Howcroft (46), of Formby Park, and Darren McAllister (31), of Alliance Road – both in Belfast.

All three are also charged with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard claims that Boreland and Shoukri were in a car when it was hit by a bottle.

According to their accounts, the pair got out to confront a group of men. Boreland alleges he then heard Bunting give a direction before the shots were fired.

A detective involved in the investigation described it as a "brazen" attack in a residential area.

Opposing bail, he claimed there was a risk of witness intimidation and said other people were still being sought in connection with the shooting.

But defence lawyer Paul Farrell launched a scathing attack on the police probe. He claimed detectives should have sought an extension in the time his client was held in custody so they could make further inquiries.

"This was a rushed, shoddy and incomplete investigation, resulting in an abuse of the charging process," Mr Farrell said.

Mr Farrell also claimed there were a number of deficiencies in the forensic evidence-gathering which followed the shooting.

Background

Boreland (44) was shot in the thigh while Shoukri escaped injury in an attack being linked to heightened tensions between loyalist factions in the area. The gun attack occurred at Carr's Glen Park in the Ballysillan area last Wednesday. The incident followed a number of separate attacks on homes and property in the area.

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