Murder charges 'related to talks'
The decision to charge a man accused of murdering two Catholic workmen in Northern Ireland 20 years ago may be related to recent peace agreement talks, his lawyer claimed.
Mark Campbell, 42, from Canning Place in Belfast, denies two charges of murder, one of attempted murder and one of possession of a Sten sub-machine gun and ammunition.
Gary Convie and Eamon Fox were shot with a sub-machine gun while sitting in a car at a building site in North Queen Street on 17 May 1994.
Campbell's solicitor Eoghan McKenna told Belfast Magistrates' Court: "It appears that this matter may be related to political developments, given the recent Haass discussions, given the more general debate involving the Attorney General."
Former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass chaired all-party negotiations on dealing with the legacy of the conflict and other contentious issues which broke up without agreement on New Year's Eve.
Campbell wore a white coat and blue sweater for his brief appearance in the dock and did not speak.
Mr McKenna asked a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) investigating officer to confirm that there were no co-accused in this case, which he did.
The solicitor said his client was also questioned about membership of an outlawed organisation.
Mr McKenna added: "Mr Campbell is denying these charges, other matters will be reported to the prosecution service.
"The ultimate resolution of this case looks like it may take some time."
He said his client was anxious to make a bail application as soon as possible.
District judge Peter King remanded him in custody to reappear via video link on January 16.
As he was led out of the dock, the accused's supporters waved at him, and he gave them a thumbs-up sign.
Mr Fox, who was 44, had six children. Mr Convie was 24 and was a father of one.
Mr Convie's father and two of Mr Fox's sons were in court for the hearing.