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Defendant refuses to stand in dock as he faces court on booby-trap bomb charges

By George Jackson

Published 10/05/2016

Sean McVeigh
Sean McVeigh
The scene of the bomb find in Eglinton last year

A man accused of trying to murder a police officer with an under-car bomb last year appeared in court yesterday.

Sean McVeigh, from Victoria Street in Lurgan, was arrested in the Republic, released, and then arrested again in Portadown on Saturday.

He was kept in custody until his appearance at Londonderry Magistrates Court.

He is charged with attempting to murder a policeman with a booby-trap bomb placed under the officer's car in the driveway of his home in Eglinton, on the outskirts of Derry.

It was discovered before it could go off. McVeigh is also charged with possessing explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage to property over the incident on June 18.

The defendant, who has 35 previous convictions, but none for terrorism, made no reply when the charges were read to him by a clerk. He refused to stand in the dock.

A detective constable told the court she believed she could connect the defendant to the charges and the evidence.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said he was not applying for bail at this stage, but added: "The defence case is that the prosecution are missing essential ingredients to connect the defendant to the charges. The basis of the evidence is that low levels of RDX (a substance linked to explosives) were detected on clothing taken from the defendant after his arrest.

"Crucially, no evidence has been adduced in relation to the conclusions of the RDX detection. Therefore, there is no forensic evidence against him.

"Another missing ingredient is the CCTV evidence. The prosecution are relying on CCTV in relation to the car the defendant was apprehended in in the Republic, but there is no factual evidence of the vehicle having been seen in Eglinton.

"There is no forensic evidence, no viper (video identification period electronic recording) evidence and no DNA evidence linking the defendant to Eglinton.

"No bail application is being made because the defence has not had disclosure of the conclusion of the expert's report. The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) are relying on its findings and I am seeking an adjournment until that matter is resolved so that an informed bail application can be made."

District Judge McElholm said anything the prosecution had at this stage should be disclosed to the defence. He then remanded the defendant in custody until May 16, when a contested video-link bail application will be made.

Mr McElholm added that he wanted the PPS disclosure to be made to the defence prior to the bail application.

When the defendant was remanded in custody, several people in the public gallery cheered and clapped.

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