Belfast Telegraph

David Black murder: Trial is denied file on killing of prison officer

Diarmaid Mac Dermott

The PSNI will not disclose material relating to the murder of prison officer David Black because it could jeopardise the investigation into the killing, the Special Criminal Court in Dublin was told yesterday.

The court heard that defence lawyers were seeking disclosure of the material for the trial of a Dublin man for withholding information.

Vincent Banks (44), of Smithfield Gate Apartments, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the IRA, on December 18, 2012. He is also charged with withholding information in relation to the murder.

Banks's counsel Mr Micheal P O'Higgins SC said the case against Banks was an allegation that he bought the Toyota car that was used in the killing.

He said there was a "real and serious risk of an unfair trial" if the case went ahead without the defence being given access to the PSNI material.

Garda Detective Inspector Anthony Lenihan said the PSNI officer in charge of the investigation had told him that disclosure was a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service, not the police.

The PSNI officer had told him it may "jeopardise" the investigation and alert other people that they were the subject of investigation.

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said that the Irish court had no power to compel disclosure from outside the jurisdiction and the court was satisfied that the prosecution had taken all reasonable steps to provide disclosure to the defence. He said the trial will proceed next Tuesday.

Father-of-two Mr Black (52) was shot dead as he drove to work on the M1 motorway near Lurgan.

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