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DUP's Robinson welcomes return to jail of bail breach murder accused

By Claire McNeilly

Published 28/10/2016

Accused: Christopher Robinson
Accused: Christopher Robinson

A DUP MP has welcomed news a man charged of murdering a prison officer in Belfast is “behind bars where he belongs until the court process continues” after breaching his bail conditions for a fifth time.

Gavin Robinson was speaking after Christoper Robinson (46), of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, had his bail revoked after Facebook comments about a policeman’s photo.

The defendant, who waved to the public gallery when he entered the dock yesterday, was also held to have broken his terms of release by failing to give details of a mobile phone to police.

A judge at Belfast Magistrate’s Court remanded Robinson back into custody yesterday for four weeks after a short hearing following his arrest on Thursday night.

The east Belfast politician said it was good news the defendant has been jailed after repeatedly flouting the terms of his bail.

“I’m pleased the police have been pro-active in making an arrest and seeking to enforce bail conditions and perhaps more pleasantly surprised that for the first occasion out of five the judiciary have agreed,” he said.

“He is where he belongs until such times that the court process continues. Of course, the possibility for appeal remains open to him, but I hope the judiciary will recognise the seriousness of the offence suggests that until the case concludes that he should remain on remand.”

Christopher Robinson, who faces two charges, is accused of killing Adrian Ismay in March and of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

Mr Ismay (52) suffered serious leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb exploded under the van he was driving. He died following a return to hospital 11 days later.

Mr Robinson said he “shared concerns of many people within our community who believe bail should never have been an option for someone accused of such a serious offence”.

“Having previously raised serious concerns that bail checks were not being properly conducted because it had been generating too many complaints from his legal team, I am glad the PSNI have been pro-active on this occasion,” he said, adding that his thoughts are with Mr Ismay’s family and their quest for justice.

The accused is allegedly linked to the bombing by CCTV footage of a car believed to have been used when the device was planted at the victim’s Hillsborough Drive home in the early hours of March 4.

Forensic examination of the car revealed traces of RDX, a component in high explosive material, on its rear floor and seats.

Judge McNally remanded the defendant back into custody to reappear on November 18.

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