Belfast Telegraph

Bailed duo still in custody due to forensics delay

By Alan Erwin

Two Londonderry men granted bail on a terrorist-related weapon charge are still in custody because of unanswered questions over forensics in the case.

An appeal against a magistrate's decision that Anthony Taylor and Mark Kerr should be released was put on hold yesterday amid prosecution attempts to explain the situation.

A High Court judge agreed to adjourn the challenge after information he requested about the forensic process and timeline could not be given.

Prosecuting counsel Robert Blackburn said: “This seems amazing, but nevertheless we have been unable to find the answers to the questions.”

The appeal, which was raised by the deputy director of the Public Prosecution Service during proceedings, will now be heard again tomorrow.

Taylor (43), of Farmhill in Springtown, and 24-year-old Kerr, from Carranbane Walk in the city, are jointly charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The alleged offence relates to an incident in Derry last August.

Fingerprint evidence from a bag linked to the gun was said to form part of the prosecution.

On Monday, Derry District Judge Barney McElholm granted bail to the two men because of undue delay in the case. He was informed that a full forensic report may take up to up 12 weeks.

During yesterday's PPS appeal against that ruling, Lord Justice Coghlin sought answers on when the material was requested and how police supervised the process.

Adjourning the appeal to tomorrow, the judge told the prosecution: “You must understand that this is not a satisfactory situation.”

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