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Police criticised over missing terror suspect Damien McLaughlin

By Staff Reporter

Too many questions remain about missing terror-accused Damien McLaughlin, DUP peer Lord Morrow has claimed.

McLaughlin (40), of Kilmascally Road near Ardboe, is facing trial on charges linked to the murder of prison officer David Black in 2012.

He is to face charges including aiding and abetting the murder, possessing items to be used in terrorism and belonging to an illegal organisation.

In January a court heard that McLaughlin has not been seen by police since November. He had spent time on remand, but was granted bail in May 2014.

Lord Morrow says he has submitted numerous questions to the Justice Minister, written to the Chief Constable, The Law Society and The Bar Council about the matter.

"Overall, this matter was grossly mishandled by the PSNI who should have jumped at the first indication of a breach in bail terms," he has claimed. "This is, after all, a terrorism case in which Mr Black was murdered whilst on his way to work. As the only person to date charged in connection to that murder, PSNI should have been ultra-alert to the necessity of ensuring McLaughlin faced the courts.

"There was far too much laxity afforded in this instance by police and that has severely impacted upon the overall case of the brutal murder of Mr Black, and his family who, whilst consumed with grief, are failed in such a dramatic manner by authorities.

"This whole incident requires a thorough investigation into all facets involved in what is, without doubt, a deplorable situation, including police, judiciary, and legal representatives and their governing bodies."

Lord Morrow added: "I remain disgusted as to Sinn Fein's conspicuous silence on this matter, their stance almost without precedent and in stark contrast to their condemnation of other similar instances."

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