Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Suspect in murder of RUC constable is facing trial

Man on trial accused of attempting to murder soldiers, RUC officers and a female civilian staff member at Strand Road Police Headquarters
Man on trial accused of attempting to murder soldiers, RUC officers and a female civilian staff member at Strand Road Police Headquarters

A man accused of leaving a bomb on the windowsill of an RUC assistant chief constable and assisting in the murder of an RUC constable has been sent for trial.

Christopher Paul O'Kane (41) is also charged with carrying out a series of IRA gun and mortar bomb attacks in Londonderry over a six-and-a-half year period that ended immediately before the IRA ceasefire of August 1994.

A judge ruled yesterday he believed there was sufficient evidence to send the Derry man, whose address was given as care of Maghaberry Prison, for trial.

O'Kane will be arraigned on 18 charges before Belfast Crown Court next month, following the ruling by District Judge Alan White that the defendant had a prima facie case to answer.

The ruling by the judge, who remanded the defendant in custody, came after a two-day preliminary inquiry hearing in Derry's Bishop Street courthouse.

Among the charges facing O'Kane are that he assisted in the murder of RUC constable Michael Ferguson, who was shot dead by the IRA in Shipquay Street in the centre of Derry in January 1993.

He is also charged with placing a bomb on the windowsill of the home of RUC assistant chief constable Maurice Johnston at Dunwood Park in the Waterside area of the city in February 1994.

The defendant is further charged with attempting to murder soldiers, RUC officers and a female civilian staff member at Strand Road Police Headquarters.

He is also charged with firing and possessing mortar bombs, placing a bomb on a railway line with intent to murder soldiers, collecting information about police cars, directing acts of terrorism and membership of the IRA.

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