Belfast Telegraph

Mortar bomb plot accused's trial adjourned before it even begins

By Alan Erwin

The non-jury trial of a 39-year-old Londonderry man accused of involvement in a foiled mortar bomb attack has been adjourned before it even got under way.

Gary McDaid (39), from Glenowen Park, was to have gone on trial at Belfast Crown Court, sitting in Antrim. He is accused of involvement in a dissident mortar bomb plot aimed at Derry's Strand Road police station on March 3 last year.

However, even before the case started a prosecution lawyer told Judge Desmond Marrinan that matters had arisen, preventing the start of the case. They were on foot of a request from defence lawyers last Friday. Counsel explained that there is "a dedicated experienced lawyer" dealing with the matter. However, following a consultation with a witness, a further statement has to be taken.

Given the "combination of these two features", he said, he did not realistically expect them to be resolved before the weekend. In addition, "it may potentially raise further issues for the defence".

The case will be reviewed again next month by the Recorder of Belfast, Judge David McFarland, who is waiting to sentence 36-year-old Seamus McLaughlin of Eastway Gardens in Derry's Creggan estate. He was a former co-accused of McDaid, who pleaded guilty in May to involvement in the bomb plot.

McDaid faces a total of eight terror-related charges.

No details surrounding the case against both men were given. However, in January Belfast Crown Court heard that McLaughlin was the driver of the white Berlingo van which police believe was driving in convoy with a motorcycle driven by McDaid, carrying a second helmet.

The court heard that the van, containing four mortars that were "ready to deploy... ready to go", was stopped on the Letterkenny Road. The lawyer said it was the prosecution case that McLaughlin was to have been taken away from the scene by McDaid.

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