Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist supergrass Gary Haggarty admits assault and having baseball bat

By John Cassidy

Former UVF commander turned supergrass Gary Haggarty has appeared in court to face two charges.

The 45-year-old, whose address was given as c/o PSNI Knocknagoney, was escorted into Belfast Crown Court by two prison officers for the arraignment hearing.

He pleaded guilty to wounding Desmond Roberts with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm on April 18, 1997. He further admitted possessing an offensive weapon, namely a baseball bat, on the same date at Fern Lodge public bar on the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

Prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said the offences came to light following Press reports, adding that a statement of complaint was taken from the victim before Haggarty was interviewed by police.

At a previous hearing in June the defendant was handed a life sentence after he pleaded guilty to 200 terrorist charges relating to his activities in the UVF's south east Antrim brigade, including five counts of murder.

Haggarty was due to face a tariff hearing on the murder charges and a plea and sentence hearing on the remaining 195 charges on September 25 and 26.

But yesterday, prosecutor Mr Murphy requested a new date for the hearings, saying the Public Prosecution Service was waiting on outstanding information from the PSNI.

He told Mr Justice Colton that Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory QC was awaiting an "analytical document'' from the PSNI that would set out "any assistance provided by the defendant to the police''.

Defence counsel Martin O'Rourke QC said he was "very anxious'' that there were no further delays in the case.

Mr Justice Colton remarked: "I would be very hostile to any further delays in this matter.''

The judge set October 25 and October 26 this year for the new tariff and plea and sentencing hearings.

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