Belfast Telegraph

Brother of Adrian Ismay murder accused attends court

Adrian Ismay
Adrian Ismay

By Ashleigh McDonald

The brother of a man accused of murdering a Northern Ireland prison officer attended court following an order from a senior judge - but was not called to give evidence.

Peter Robinson - the brother of accused Christopher Robinson - was due to give evidence last week at the trial into the murder of Adrian Ismay, but failed to attend.

At the time of the murder in March 2016, Peter Robinson worked at a youth hostel in west Belfast and was due to answer questions about claims he disabled the CCTV system the night before the bomb exploded and told a colleague 'our Christy is calling.'

Christopher Alphonson Robinson (48) from Aspen Park in Poleglass has been charged with murdering Mr Ismay, possessing an improvised explosive device and providing money or property for the purposes of terrorism.

The 52-year old father-of-three died 11 days after a bomb detonated under his blue Volkswagen van on the morning of March 4, 2016 as he was driving from his home in the Cregagh area of Belfast.

It's the Crown's case that a red Citroen C3 containing the bomb was driven by Christopher Robinson to Mr Ismay's Hillsborough Drive home. Several colleagues of Peter Robinson have already given evidence to say they saw him arriving at the hostel for his shift on March 3 in a red Citroen C3.

On Monday at Belfast Crown Court, when trial judge Mr Justice McAlinden asked if Peter Robinson had turned up, he was told by a barrister representing the witness "he has attended today."

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Christopher Robinson

Martin O'Rourke QC said: "Mr Robinson was interviewed for three days, and I have not seen the transcripts of those interviews. I would like the prosecution to provide me with the interview transcripts."

Mr O'Rourke said that after viewing these transcripts, issues may arise concerning his client's rights "regarding giving evidence ... and he requires advice in relation to that."

The defence barrister asked for time to consider the transcripts and "deal with the matter", and was given until Friday by Mr Justice McAlinden.

Also at today's non-jury hearing, a senior technical officer who specialises in forensic collision investigations and imagery comparisons gave evidence.

He confirmed he was asked to view CCTV footage and stills of vehicles taken from various locations in Belfast in the aftermath of the murder. He also confirmed he was asked to look for common features between vehicles in the CCTV footage and a Citroen C3.

The forensics officer viewed footage from numerous cameras across the city - including Stranmillis and a funeral home on the Cregagh Road close to where the bomb exploded - and noted several common features such as the rear spoiler and the position of the registration plate.

When asked about the conclusion he came to, the forensic officer said the presence of these common features "lends support that the vehicle seen in these images had certain characteristics of a Citroen C3."

Under cross-examination from Arthur Harvey QC, representing Christopher Robinson, the forensic officer was asked if, when compiling his report, he had compared the Citroen with other similar vehicles, to which he replied "no".

And when asked by Mr Harvey if these common features were also present on other models of cars similar to the Citroen C3, he repied "yes."

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