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Man charged with prison officer Adrian Ismay murder warned against further bail breaches after second failure to report to police

By Alan Erwin

Published 23/08/2016

Charges: Christopher Robinson
Charges: Christopher Robinson
Adrian Ismay

A man charged with murdering a prison officer in Belfast was warned today about any further breaches of bail.

Christopher Robinson appeared back before the city's magistrates' court, claiming a failure to report in with police on time was due to him falling asleep.

But releasing the 46-year-old from custody again, a judge cautioned: "You might not get as easy a ride again."

Robinson, of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, is accused over the killing of Adrian Ismay in March. He also faces a further charge of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

Mr Ismay, 52, suffered serious leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb exploded under the van while he was driving in the east of the city.

He had been recovering, but died following a return to hospital 11 days later. Robinson is allegedly linked to the bombing by CCTV footage of a car believed to have been used to plant the device at the victim's Hillsborough Drive home early on March 4.

Forensic examination of the car revealed traces of RDX, an identifier in high explosive material, on its rear floor and seats, a previous court was told.

Robinson was said to have known Mr Ismay through working together as volunteers with St John Ambulance.

The accused was returned to custody on Monday for allegedly breaching bail conditions by failing to sign in with the PSNI by an arranged time.

He had contacted police claiming to have slept in, the court heard.

A PSNI constable said it followed a separate incident earlier this month when Robinson allegedly failed to return home in time for his curfew.

"I made it clear to the court that if there were any further breaches in this case we would strenuously object to bail," he added.

"These are serious matters, and this is the second breach." Defence counsel Sean Devine insisted Robinson had not been misbehaving or wilfully ignoring his release conditions.

"He took some medical for his bad back and fell asleep," the barrister said. Mr Devine also claimed the earlier failure to abide by the curfew was due to difficulties in securing a taxi home from the West Belfast Festival.

Deciding to re-admit Robinson to bail, Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter told him: "You have bail terms set and you abide by them no matter what."

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