Lawyers for former top loyalist Mark Haddock have claimed that he should be released from custody because he is now a “supporter of the peace process”.
The former UVF chief and police agent appeared in the High Court yesterday to apply for bail. He is one of 11 men charged in connection with the killing of UDA boss Tommy English at his home just outside north Belfast during a bloody loyalist paramilitary feud.
It was stated in court that Haddock once left a beating victim for dead by inflicting a final hammer blow to his head.
A prosecution lawyer told the court the victim of the 1996 attack allegedly saw Haddock standing over him with a hammer.
It was claimed he then struck a blow to the wounded man's head.
Prosecutors also claimed Haddock opened fire on another man from a car before chasing him and shooting him in the leg.
And the 41-year-old was described as the “directing mind and commander” of the operation which led to the assassination of English.
Haddock was alleged to have been in overall charge of a UVF unit in north Belfast at the time of the killing in October 2000.
Crown counsel David Russell said: “In that role he commanded fear, both of those whom he commanded and also other persons within the organisation of equal and higher ranking outside the Mount Vernon area.”
Haddock is accused of the murder of English, a high-ranking UDA man, membership of the UVF, possession of firearms and ammunition, hijacking a taxi used by the killers and false imprisonment of the driver.
He faces separate charges of grievous bodily harm with intent, assault, and wounding with intent connected to punishment attacks on four victims in 1996 and 2001.
Bail was refused despite defence claims that he is held apart from other loyalists in prison and is a supporter of the peace process. Mark Farrell, defending, said: “He cuts a lonely figure. He's committed to the peace process.”
According to the prosecution, Haddock was not part of the assault team, but the director and part of an elite group who planned and prepared the shooting away from the rest of the gang.
Refusing bail, Mr Justice Weatherup ruled the risk of further offending or interference with witnesses was too great.