Accused is to face trial over murder of warder David Black
The only man charged in connection with the killing of prison officer David Black has been ordered to stand trial accused of aiding and abetting in the murder.
Committing alleged IRA terrorist Damien McLaughlin (38) to Belfast Crown Court for trial, District Judge Peter King told Craigavon Magistrates Court he was satisfied there was sufficient evidence to warrant putting him on trial.
His decision comes after a preliminary investigation where the PPS called witnesses to give evidence to persuade the judge there was a prima facie case against McLaughlin.
McLaughlin, from Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, is facing four charges in relation to the murder of Mr Black including aiding and abetting his murder; possessing an article, namely a Toyota Camry car, for use in terrorism; preparing a terrorist act by starting and moving the Toyota car which the killers used in the murder, and a final charge of belonging or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation, the IRA, with all the offences dated on October 31 and November 1, 2012.
Mr Black was shot dead on the M1 in Co Armagh in November 2012 on his way to work at the high security Maghaberry Prison.
The 52-year-old father-of-two was the first prison officer in Northern Ireland to be murdered in almost 20 years.
The prosecution alleges McLaughlin transported a Toyota Camry across the Irish border on the eve of the attack.The vehicle in which the killers were travelling was later found burnt out.
Standing in the dock of the Magistrates Court yesterday, McLaughlin confirmed that he had received copies of the statements and legal documents relating to the preliminary inquiry and that he had no legal objection to it taking place.
Last year at the same court the PPS dropped a murder charge against 34-year-old Sean McVeigh, from Victoria street in Lurgan, while a third defendant, Fiona McFadden (30), from Killough Gardens, also in Lurgan, has denied a count of perverting the course of justice by providing a false alibi to the alleged killers the day after the murder.
Yesterday McLaughlin was released on continuing bail and ordered to appear at Crown Court for arraignment on a date to be fixed.
The case may stall, however, as his legal representative from KRW Law withdrew over the ongoing legal aid fees dispute.