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'No evidence' to link Co Tyrone man to attempted murder of policeman in 2008

Published 04/12/2015

David Jordan arrives at Dungannon Court, charged with the attempted murder of a Catholic police officer near Castlederg in 2008
Pic Pacemaker
David Jordan arrives at Dungannon Court, charged with the attempted murder of a Catholic police officer near Castlederg in 2008 Pic Pacemaker
Convicted dissident republican Gavin Coyle, pictured, appeared before a judge in Strabane on Thursday charged with the same crime as David Jordan

Evidence linking a Co Tyrone man to the attempted murder of a policeman in Northern Ireland is "non- existent ", his lawyer has insisted.

David Jordan, 44, from Cavanalinn, Pomeroy, is accused of the bomb attack on the officer seven years ago.

The Catholic policeman was driving from his home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, to start a night shift at Enniskillen police station in Co Fermanagh in May 2008 when a dissident republican under-car booby trap bomb, made up of 1lb (0.5kg) of high explosives, detonated.

The injured officer was able to escape the burning vehicle but suffered serious leg wounds.

Jordan appeared in Dungannon Magistrates' Court on Friday charged with attempted murder, causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, and belonging to or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation.

A district judge refused an application for bail and remanded him in custody.

On Thursday, convicted dissident republican Gavin Coyle appeared before a judge in Strabane charged with the same crime. Coyle, formerly of Culmore Park, Omagh, is currently serving a 10-year sentence for a range of other dissident terror offences.

Jordan, wearing jeans, a blue shirt and grey jumper, did not speak or stand during Friday's hearing.

A detective sergeant told a district judge that Jordan and Coyle were involved in a "joint enterprise" to try to kill the policeman.

She said the accused refused to answer questions during police interviews and when the charges were finally put to him one by one on Thursday night he replied to each: "I am totally innocent of this fabricated charge."

She said the accused then added: "This is yet another case of internment by remand."

The detective told the court that police believe CCTV footage captured Jordan and Coyle driving two vehicles in convoy in the vicinity of the officer's house prior to the bomb blast.

She said a trace of nitroglycerin was also found in the boot of a car later seized by police from Jordan.

The policewoman told the judge the accused had originally been arrested in connection with the bombing days after the attack, but was released without charge.

She said "new evidence had come to light" that enabled detectives to re-arrest and charge him this week.

Opposing bail, she told the court the accused had served two lengthy jail terms - one in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland - for possession of weapons offences.

She said he was handed down an 11-year sentence in Belfast Crown Court in 1991 and given a seven-year term for other weapons offences in a Co Cavan court in 2010.

The officer claimed the defendant was affiliated with republican paramilitary groups and could commit offences if bailed. She claimed he also posed a flight risk.

However, Jordan's solicitor Peter Corrigan heavily criticised the strength of the evidence against his client, claiming it was "non-existent".

He said there was not enough evidence to even connect Jordan with the charge at the remand stage, never mind to progress the case to trial. He rejected the claim that new evidence had emerged since his client's original arrest in 2008.

"This defendant should not be connected to these offences," he insisted.

He said police expert analysis of the CCTV footage had not even been able to confirm the specific make and model of the vehicle, adding that the car later impounded by police was not even registered to Jordan.

The solicitor also questioned the police's reliance on the nitroglycerin trace, noting that the bomb used to attack the policeman was made of a different substance - semtex.

He rejected the claim that his client could commit offences or flee the jurisdiction if bailed.

However, the judge said she had been persuaded by the police objections to bail.

She remanded the accused to appear before Strabane Magistrates' Court, via videolink, on December 17.

A group of supporters in the public gallery clapped Jordan as he was led away from the court.

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