Belfast Telegraph

Supergrass case facing delay over paperwork

By Alan Erwin

A so-called loyalist supergrass facing a record 212 charges "can't make head nor tail" of a huge body of redacted prosecution papers, a court heard.

Gary Haggarty's lawyers claimed proceedings which began five-and-a-half years ago could be hit by further delays unless unedited papers are disclosed to them.

They want full access to transcripts from his interviews to detectives investigating a campaign of killings, murder plots and other paramilitary crime.

As legal moves to establish if the former UVF commander-turned assisting offender will stand trial continue, his barrister challenged a policy based on not detailing any suspected criminality of other loyalists or police Special Branch officers.

Fiona Doherty QC told Belfast Magistrates Court: "We have constantly raised concerns over the way this case has been dealt with and the material disclosed to us is redacted to the extent we can't make head nor tail of it."

Although 43-year-old Haggarty's address was given as c/o the Police Service of Northern Ireland, he is believed to be living at a secret location in England.

He did not appear for yesterday's brief court hearing.

Around 10,000 pages of evidence has been amassed in the case against him - much of it believed to be based on his own police interviews.

Back in January 2010, he agreed to become an assisting offender under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA).

A list of the charges against him reveals the scale of the prosecution. They include:

Five murders, 31 conspiracy to murder and six attempted murders.

Four kidnappings, six false imprisonments and five hijackings.

Twelve possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and 47 counts of having a firearm with intent.

Eighteen charges of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Three counts of arson, conspiracy to defraud and concealing the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Two charges each of directing terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation.

Seven counts of possessing money or property for the purposes of terrorism.

The alleged offences span a 16-year period between 1991 and 2007.

Preliminary enquiry proceedings to establish if he will stand trial have been repeatedly put on hold as his legal team battles to gain full access to the interview material.

At one stage he also failed in a High Court bid to force the PSNI to hand over the tapes.

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