Six accused of UDA charges to face retrial
Published 02/04/2008 | 08:06
The Belfast trial of six suspected UDA supporters, including well-known loyalist Ihab Shoukri, was dramatically aborted yesterday afternoon and a retrial ordered.
The unexpected decision by trial judge Mr Justice Gillen brought muted cheers of "yo" from some of those in the Crown Court dock.
Mr Justice Gillen, who ordered the retrial to begin on Monday, said he was stepping down "in the interests of justice".
Mr Justice Gillen announced that it had been brought to his attention that the case papers given to him contained certain details "which may be adverse" to some of the accused.
The trial, at which trouble flared moments before it began on Monday, had been hearing evidence of the arrest of the six men.
The prosecution claim the men were attending a dress rehearsal for a UDA show of strength at the Alexandra Bar on Belfast's York Street, when it was stormed by police on March 2, 2006.
In the jeans of one of the men, 36-year-old Gary McKenzie from Clare Heights, Belfast, police found a speech, allegedly in the handwriting of 34-year-old Shoukri from Westland Drive, Belfast.
Shoukri faces charges of UDA membership, professing to be a member and supporting the UDA "by assisting in arranging or managing a meeting" of the terror group.
McKenzie, along with 39-year-old Samuel Todd Robinson of Arosa Crescent, Belfast, are accused of UDA membership and supporting the organisation.
A fourth man, 40-year-old George McHenry of Ardoyne Road, Belfast, is also accused of UDA membership and of professing to be a member.
The remaining two accused, 50-year-old Alexandra Bar ownerJohn Davis of Glebe Manor Glengormley, and 21-year-old Alan John McClean of Westland Drive, Belfast, both face charges of supporting the UDA.
All six men have denied the charges against them in the court case.