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David Black prison officer murder case fugitive is remanded in custody

Daniel Hickey

A man charged in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black appeared at Dublin's High Court yesterday on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin (40), with an address at Glenties Road in west Belfast, was arrested on Thursday in Co Donegal.

He is wanted by local authorities to face allegations that he aided and abetted in the murder of Mr Black on November 1, 2012, and that he was in possession of an article suspected of being for the commission of the act of murder.

Mr Black (52) was shot dead on the M1 motorway by dissident republicans as he drove to work in Maghaberry jail.

McLaughlin is also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and of being a member of a proscribed organisation.

Garda detective sergeant Padraig Boyce, of the force's special detective unit, told counsel for the State Fiona Murphy yesterday that he had arrested McLaughlin.

Under cross-examination, det sgt Boyce told David Leonard, acting for the defendant, that the accused man was a passenger in a vehicle when seized.

The court heard that McLaughlin was dragged out of the car and his legs were crossed and cable-tied.

Det Sgt Boyce did not agree with the defence barrister that McLaughlin had been treated with more force than was necessary.

The detective said that the defendant was "a high-risk person" and that there was therefore a "strong and real possibility" he had a firearm.

McLaughlin was "dealt with in a prompt and appropriate fashion" and "not treated with any more force than necessary", the detective added.

Mr Leonard submitted to the court that excessive force was used and that "either disregard or insufficient weight was placed on the presumption of innocence".

In these circumstances the arrest was invalid, he said.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly rejected the application.

She said that Mr McLaughlin was accused of offences of terrorism.

"It is also alleged that he had been released on bail in Northern Ireland and he failed to abide by the conditions of his bail," she explained.

She added it was important that gardai carry out risk assessments before arresting somebody and that she did not consider that excessive force was used or that there was a breach of the presumption of innocence

Mr McLaughlin was remanded in custody until March 20.

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