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Tensions boil over in gallery as man in court over samurai sword killings

By John Cassidy

Published 27/02/2016

A judge warned relatives of two men killed in a samurai sword attack that he would have them removed from court after outbursts from the public gallery at a hearing yesterday.

Mr Justice Treacy spoke out after a number of disturbances at Belfast Crown Court.

In the dock was Albert Armstrong (47), from Grays Park in south Belfast.

He pleaded not guilty over the deaths of both Colin 'Bap' Lindsay and Stanley Wightman at a house on the Belvoir estate in July last year.

As shouts of "murdering b******" were heard from the public gallery, Mr Justice Treacy said: "I will have people removed from this court if there are any more outbursts."

A defence barrister told the court that the case could hinge on "diminished responsibility" and that a number of medical experts were being consulted over Armstrong's mental health.

He added that the defendant was waiting on a hospital appointment for an MRI scan, but no date had been given for his attendance.

The judge fixed the date for Armstrong's trial, which is expected to last two weeks, for June 13.

As Armstrong was led from the dock in handcuffs, a woman shouted at him from the public gallery: "Rot in your cell."

Also in the dock in a separate case was Orhan Koca (33), of no fixed address, who is accused of killing boxer Eamonn Magee jnr in May last year.

The 22-year-old was found in the garden of a house in the Summerhill Park area of Twinbrook in west Belfast with a number of fatal stab wounds.

As the charge was put to him, Koca, who was dressed in an open white shirt and blue jeans, replied: "Not guilty".

At that point, people sat behind the defendant in the gallery started hurling abuse at him, shouting: "You scumbag b******. You murdered an innocent child."

A number of women also broke down in tears and had to be comforted by relatives.

Afterwards, security guards entered the public gallery along with a number of police officers to restore calm.

Mr Justice Treacy fixed the date of Koca's trial, which is expected to last three weeks, for Monday, June 6.

Belfast Telegraph

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