A man currently in custody charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee declined to leave his prison cell yesterday for a video link hearing because of "his concerns over the general Covid-19 situation".
Paul McIntyre (52) from Kinnego Park in Londonderry denies murdering Ms McKee during disturbances in the Creggan on the night of April 18 of last year.
He also denies possessing a firearm and being a member of a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA, on the same date.
When his case was mentioned at the Magistrate’s Court in Derry yesterday, defence barrister Eoghan Devlin told District Judge Nigel Broderick that an email had been sent to the governor of Maghaberry Prison last weekend asking that the defendant be excused from appearing in the video booth in the prison.
Mr Devlin said McIntyre was being “voluntarily confined to his cell”.
“It is at his own request to remain in his cell because of the general Covid-19 situation,” he said. The defence barrister said committal papers in the case would be served on the defendant’s legal representatives on Wednesday of this week.
A preliminary enquiry date has been fixed for April 2 with a review date on March 27.
Ms McKee (29) was shot dead by a dissident republican gunman during street disorder in the Creggan area last April.