Belfast Telegraph

Duffy co-accused Henry Fitzsimons out for family event

By Alan Erwin

An alleged senior dissident republican charged with trying to murder police officers can be released from custody to attend his child's first communion, a High Court judge ruled.

Mr Justice Weir extended Henry Fitzsimons' temporary compassionate bail after he gave a pledge to honour all conditions.

Fitzsimons (46) faces a series of terrorist charges linked to a gun attack on a police convoy in north Belfast in December 2013.

A police Land Rover and two other vehicles came under fire on the Crumlin Road. Two AK47 rifles and spent ammunition were later recovered, along with a burnt-out taxi the gunmen used to escape. Fitzsimons, of no fixed address, was later arrested with co-accused Colin Duffy and Alex McCrory.

Although Fitzsimons had already been granted permission to attend church for the first communion ceremony, he was seeking an extended release to go to a private family gathering.

Opposing his application, the prosecutor said: "Police are saying these are serious charges and there's a risk of re-engaging."

But Mr Justice Weir was told Fitzsimons got out for a similar event last year and abided by all conditions. He asked the accused: "Do you promise me on your own word that if you're released on bail in the same way you will honour bail?"

Fitzsimons, who appeared by prison video-link, replied: "I will, 100%."

The judge told him: "You can go to your family gathering, but be back by five o'clock. Have a nice day."

Belfast Telegraph

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