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Man quizzed over Davison 'a sitting duck', court is told

By Alan Erwin

Published 22/10/2016

Gerard ‘Jock’ Davidson
Gerard ‘Jock’ Davidson

A man who survived an assassination bid after being questioned about the murder of an IRA commander has had his bail conditions relaxed amid claims he is a "sitting duck" for an attack by the people who tried to kill him.

Scott McHugh was shot four times in west Belfast in May this year - one year after Gerard 'Jock' Davison was gunned down in the Markets area of the city.

The 29-year-old had previously been detained and questioned about the killing, but was released unconditionally.

He is currently on bail at an undisclosed address, charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with a planned robbery trial.

His legal team yesterday mounted a High Court application to vary his curfew, claiming the restriction puts him in greater danger.

Barrister Michael Ward said McHugh had received a series of threats since being arrested by detectives investigating the Davison killing.

He claimed newspaper publicity about his client's questioning and release without charge "put a target on his back", culminating in the attempt on his life at Distillery Court.

"Prior to being shot in May 2016 he had asked police if he could be provided with a bullet-proof vest, such were his concerns about this type of revenge attack," Mr Ward told the court.

"The position is that the applicant remains under threat."

Mr Ward also cited the murder on Thursday night of 43-year-old Joe Reilly in the Poleglass area of west Belfast. "These types of shootings appear to be becoming more prevalent and this applicant is in real fear for his life," he said.

"He believes those sinister elements that sought to end his life still seek to do so.

"While he's subject to a curfew at an address, he's effectively a sitting duck for people seeking to do him harm," Mr Ward added.

Following submissions, Mr Justice Deeny agreed to the variation on McHugh's living arrangements aimed at increasing his safety.

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